Progressive Prison Project
This originally appeared as one of my Practically Religion columns in Greenwich, Connecticut.
Mourning My Father Part Two: The French Chairs
by Jeff Grant
I prayed this morning. I got up early but instead of my usual early morning ritual of pot o’ coffee and a couple of hours of writing, I went to church. The chapel at the Second Congregational Church here in Greenwich is glorious, especially in the wee hours as daybreak first streams in. It reminds me that it is a holy place. Since my father died this past December, I feel lost. It is a strange and uncomfortable sensation, especially since my father and I were not especially close. The legacy he left is only first beginning to emerge. This morning I prayed for guidance and for healing; healing for me and for my family. I received a reply.
The French Chairs were beautiful but were very uncomfortable, and we really never knew what to do with them. In truth, they were more like objets d’ art, or maybe huge doorstops, that we lugged around from home to home. When my ex and I split up, I guess it wasn’t much of a surprise that I got the French Chairs; after all in our baseball-card game of need it/got it… they came in close to last. Yet, even after I remarried and Lynn and I made a home here in Greenwich, the French Chairs sat majestically in our living room: a tribute to days and dreams gone by (and probably our inability to see the madness of dedicating thirty percent of our living space to chairs that we couldn’t possibly sit in). Nonetheless, they were a part of the family.
My daughter and her husband are presently selling their house in Greenwich, and are making their way up to the hinterlands of Fairfield. I called my daughter and told her that our time as custodians of the French Chairs was thus drawing to a close. Upon hearing about the availability of her beloved French Chairs, she waxed poetic and drove right over to pick them up. After all, to her these were way more than chairs; they contained the memories of her childhood and were markers of those nostalgic times (even if those times had to be spent on the floor in front of the chairs and not on the chairs themselves).
After the French Chairs had been safely passed on to the next generation, Lynn and I wasted no time in filling the void with a pair of Crate & Barrel upholstered chairs that we bought used at Consign It on Mason Street. It was nice to be able to finally use that side of our living room; we found out that we actually have a sliver-view of the Sound.
I miss my Dad and I wish he could be at dinner to join us. I waited too long to invite him. I won’t make the same mistake again.
Jeff Grant, JD, M Div
Progressive Prison Project
Assoc. Minister / Director of Prison Ministries
The First Baptist Church of Bridgeport
126 Washington Avenue
Bridgeport, Connecticut 06604