Saturday, June 16, 2012

Dad's Recliner Chair

When we were growing up, my brother, sister and I fought over my daddy’s recliner chair. We all wanted to sit in it, pull that wooden crank and lean back just like Daddy did. Daddy ruled from that chair. He also rested in that chair. When Daddy was in that chair the television belonged to him—even when he was snoring loud enough to wake up our neighbors across the street. Just when we thought he was out for the night, Daddy would wake up and yell, “Don’t touch that dial.”
After my dad finished preparing his Sunday sermon on Saturday nights, he would always turn the television to The Lawrence Welk Show. (If you are not old enough to remember Mr. Welk, please do a Google search so you can hear what we had to hear every Saturday night for years. No, on second thought, just click on his name.)

 Every Saturday night we’d sit on the living room sofa like three blind mice just waiting for my dad to fall asleep. Then, the boldest of us would tiptoe over to the TV and quietly turn the knob. Like clockwork, Daddy would wake up just long enough to shout—“Don’t touch that dial.” Then, he’d turn his head and go back to what my mom affectionately called –calling hogs.

Yessiree, Daddy ruled and rested from his favorite recliner chair.

Even when the telephone on the hallway stand would ring, we would race to answer it and Daddy would inevitably say—“Hand it to me”.

When we were very young my parents gave us a phone answering script and Daddy would keep at least one eye open long enough to approve our humble recitation.

McNair residence, who’s calling please?”

Even if the call was for one of us we still had to pass it to Daddy first. He was the official telephone screener too. Daddy totally ruled from the comfort of that favorite recliner chair.—ruled and rested.

Since we had tested the chair in Daddy’s absence, we understood how easy it was to snore and lived for and fought for moments when we could occupy that chair.
As I look back it is funny to me just how much we wanted to sit in dad’s chair. For myself, I couldn’t wait until my older brother and sister were off to college so I and I alone could get the chair whenever Dad was gone for the day. I would often sit there, stretch out and get my snore on just like Daddy did.

Interestingly enough, when I was the last child left at home, I wanted Dad’s chair but I didn’t want his mantle. He was a retired Army Chaplain and a Christian Methodist Episcopal (CME) Pastor in Menlo Park, California. I didn’t want any part of any of that.

In my senior year of high school I remember doing a little bit of yelling back when Dad would chastise me for taking a stand at school. I had become a militant overnight and like a lot of teens I thought that I had arrived, knew everything and was more than ready to chart my own course. Whenever the school dean from Ravenswood High School would call to report on me, Dad and I would argue.

All of these heated discussions would end the same way. I would say, Daddy, I do not want to be like you!” Sometimes I would even repeat my words for emphasis.
As I got older and began to make decisions for myself I tried to do everything in my power to prove that I was not like my dad. My parents drove me in our worn out Chevy station wagon to the dormitory at Pomona College and I literally went buck wild for over twenty years.

I shed more than a few tears when I finally surrendered, first to accept Christ as Savior and Lord, and then about ten years later to accept the call to preach. As only God would have it, I am now not only teaching and preaching the Gospel like Daddy but I have also taken up the cause of helping people overcome educational barriers. That was Dad’s ministry assignment in the military. He would pray for soldiers with one hand and show them how to get a high school diploma with the other.

I think it is hilarious that I now treasure the times when I can make a pastoral house call--- just like my daddy did.

As a matter of fact, the only thing this feisty, ex-rebel in the bloodline of Elisha B. and Sarah W. McNair has not done is join the U.S. Army.

Well, I may not be in that army but I am fully signed up and fully committed to serve in the army of the Lord just like my Daddy did.  He sung about that service in a familiar song.

I am on the battlefield for my Lord and
I promise Him that I will serve Him ‘til I die.
I am on the battlefield for my Lord.”

Thanks be to God for giving me just the right Dad!  

1 comment:

  1. The Recliner- The ultimate masculinity- a place to relax, leave all your trouble behind and find your inner peach. It must be the most comfortable seat you have ever sat on. have a luscious sofa recliner.