No Rest for the Weary

In “Anecdotal Tales”, stories will be told. Some will be fun, some will not. Some will be great, some will be less so. Some stories are true, some are merely possible. This is one of them.

No Rest for the Weary

Allow children to be happy in their own way, for what better way will they find?” –Samuel Johnson

Chester had been hoping for a quiet Saturday afternoon.  He had spent the week helping his wife get ready for the family members that were visiting.  Luann had been very thorough in her cleaning of their humble abode and she had been quite eager to put Chester to work as well.  He had trimmed the hedges, cleaned the gutters, and a new coat of paint had been applied to the guest room, all due to Chester’s willingness to please his wife.  Now that all that effort had been expended, Chester was looking forward to relaxing.

“Grandma!  Grandpa!  There’s something wrong with the oven!”

Chester started to doubt just how peaceful his day would be.  Luann patted her husband’s hand and got up to see what had happened to the casserole.  Chester turned his attention back to his rocking chair.  He realized that an elderly man gliding back and forth in a chair while children ran by his legs was quite the cliché, but it was one he was quite happy to commit to.

Chester had bought the rocking chair fifty years ago and it was evident.  He would never claim to have built it himself, but he had certainly made more than a few repairs to the chair.  Chester had stained the chair several times over the decades, but the patches and cracks in the wood always seemed to show through.  Then there was the infamous missing slat in the right side of the chair.  Countless times Luann had, in her own, non-pushy way, suggested that Chester should try to replace the missing piece of wood.  Chester, being the practical and stubborn character that he was, simply replied that his back didn’t touch that area of the chair and therefore he didn’t need it.  He was content to have the chair the way it was.  He enjoyed listening to the old wood creak and croak as he pushed off gently with his knees.  Trouble would come, friends would take ill, and the roof would spring a new leak; but the rocking chair was always a place where Chester found peace and tranquility in the world.

Chester turned his head slightly to venture a look outside.  He had to admit that it was a good thing the gutters had been emptied because the pouring rain now rushed to fill them.  The grayness of the sky suggested that the deluge would not let up anytime soon.

Chester’s attention was torn from outside as a small person ran up to his feet and tugged at his trouser leg.  Meggie, the youngest of the grandchildren, was carrying a broom.  To be truthful, she was more dragging the lumbering object in her small hands than lifting it.  She looked up at Chester with her big green eyes, her brown hair pulled back in matching ponytails; Meggie was the picture of innocence.  Chester tilted his head to one side, raised his right eyebrow, and leaned forward.  Meggie offered the broom to Chester by thrusting it towards his knees.  Rather confused at the gesture, Chester took it in his left hand.  After he had accepted the item, Meggie resolutely rearranged it in his hand.  She made sure that her grandpa was holding the broom, bristles on top, perpendicular to the floor.

ImageMeggie ran off and left Chester confused.  He was about to set down the broom when his grandson, Charles, walked up to him.  Charles was carrying Luann’s bathrobe, the soft pink cotton filling up his small arms.  Charles was only a little older than his cousin, so he simply asked his grandpa to lean forward.  Chester did and the bathrobe was thrown over the back of the chair.  The shoulders of the robe had flopped onto the top of Chester’s head and Charles scurried to make adjustments.  First he ran to the back of the chair and pulled the robe down off of Chester’s head.  Then he hurried to each side of the chair and tugged until the robe draped evenly across the back of the chair.  Returning to the front of the rocking chair, Charles surveyed his work.  He put his hand to his chin in an unintentionally comical way, and then nodded his approval.  As quickly as he had entered, Charles exited.

Chester wondered if he was going to be allowed to rock quietly in serene bliss today.  The prospects certainly seemed dubious.  As if picking up on the unspoken cue, Madeline, the oldest of the grandchildren, walked up to Chester.

“Put this on your head”, Madeline ordered as she handed her grandpa a shower cap.  Chester looked at the pale blue hat and held it with disdain in his right hand while he started to see the significance of the broom in his left.  Madeline must have sensed his reluctance to oblige to her perfectly reasonable edict and changed tactics.  “Pleeeeeease?”  Unable to resist the pleading that came out as an unintentional whistle through Madeline’s missing front tooth, Chester donned the cap.

“Now what?” Chester asked, his curiosity awoken.

“Now you have to chase us!”  Madeline was soon joined by Charles and Meggie.  All three of them ran to the next room, tied blankets around their necks, and returned with swords made of paper towel rolls in their hands.  “You’re the evil king of the land and we’re three good little princesses and princes!  Chase us!”

Chester’s fear had now been confirmed.  He was not going to have a quiet afternoon spent relaxing in a rocking chair.  He had three excitable and energy-filled children demanding that he rise from his majestic throne and join in their adventure.  There was to be no serenity for Chester that day.

Chester shrugged.  Why not?  Mentally dismissing the idea of being stately and respectable, he leapt towards them.  The rocking chair swung dramatically back and forth from the force of his exit while the three grandchildren screamed in terror and glee.  Chester decided to embrace the silliness and be playful.  Peace and relaxation could have to wait until later.

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About anecdotaltales
He's a simple enough fellow. He likes movies, comics, radio shows from the 40's, and books. He likes to write and wishes his cat wouldn't shed on his laptop.

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