Where to sit: The importance of a chair.


Sitting near an elderly and most demented man, I cringed at having to readjust my bottom in the cracked and newspaper lined chair.  While at the same time, I knew the old man’s brother had dragged out their best.  He dropped it off in front of me with a smile and indicated that I was to sit.  There was no shame in his face, just pure generosity.

He was a perfect host, offering me the only chair in the home and then sitting on the edge of the only bed in the small home.  I leaned on the armrest of my chair as the demented old man rambled about his aches and pains through gums and thick lips with occasional interjections from his brother.

I panicked when the arm rest nearly gave way underneath of my elbow.  Shifting from one side to the other, the chair creaked like a limb about to break from a tree.  Naturally, I then sat as still and straight as possible to prevent the chair from completely cracking into a pile of dry sticks.

The three of us laughed when the old man said things that neither his brother nor I could understand.  And the men laughed when I nearly fell out of the chair.   We shook hands as equals and in friendship before I headed out the door.

I left feeling itchy, perhaps from flea bites?  However, I also felt the beauty in living simply and holding unconditional positive regard for others.  The very definition of hospitality was embodied in that stuffy little house by those men, despite their lack of possessions or faculties and with the sound of rats rooting through the trash in the background.  It doesn’t take much to show kindness in welcoming a stranger into one’s home and it starts with a place to sit.  Hospitality really is as simple as a chair and a warm smile, toothless or not.

hospitality [ˌhɒspɪˈtælɪtɪ]

n pl -ties

1. kindness in welcoming strangers or guests

2. receptiveness

Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003


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