The Four Chairs
 

Four chairs, at a tilt, in a row, on a porch,
Of an old country store, in a town,
For so many years they've sat there untouched,
Like a shrine for the four who'd moved on.

We shopped at that store, I recall, as a kid,
And I remember the four men sitting there,
They'd give me a grin, each time we went in,
They seemed old, with their beards and white hair.

I've heard possession is nine-tenths of the law,
And, if so, those four men owned those seats,
No one else sat in them that I ever saw,
And the only time the men left was to eat.

If a stranger in town accidentally sat down,
All it took was one look from the four,
The intruder would rise and sheepishly frown,
And, I'll bet, under his breath he swore.

In one-syllable words the four would discuss,
Important events of the day,
Conversations were dotted by huh's, nope's, and yup's,
And, each man, in his turn, had his say.

The weather report was garnered each morn,
By four heads turned up to the sky,
Should someone stop by and ask, "Will it storm?"
All heads moved as one, in reply.

They sat in those chairs day in and day out,
Very little could cause them to move,
Their age, the main reason, without any doubt,
Plus contented companionship, too.

There were times that the men did get to their feet,
Although only a few, that is true,
But when a holiday parade came down the street,
We all knew what those four men would do.

First, they watched with a bored, feigned delight,
As happy-faced clowns strutted by,
Then when baton-twirling girls danced into sight,
Aged twinkles escaped from each eye.

But when drums were heard from up the block,
And tubas and other horns played,
Many weak muscles in those old bodies grew taut,
As the four men made ready to wave.

When the Red, White, and Blue swept proudly by,
As held in young, capable hands,
Four aging salutes went up from each side,
As if in response to command.

When folks had moved on, and the parade was done,
The four men tilted back in their seats,
They agreed with each other, again nodding as one,
No way could that parade have been beat.

Well, the men now are gone, though their chairs remain
At a tilt, in a row, on that porch,
And in my mind's eye, I see them again,
In salute to Old Glory's approach.

It's a childhood memory that won't go away,
It repeats at each parade I attend,
The chairs gleam with polish on each holiday,
As a tribute to four loyal old men.

~Virginia Ellis~


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