Curator: “Sir, we do not sit on the museum’s display chairs.”

Patron: “But, madam, it bid me sit down. Was it not made for this purpose?”

Curator: “Yes, originally, but because of its embellishments, adornments and chiseled carving, we placed it in the museum to be viewed and not touched. Sir, this chair is rare, stylized upon an English version of a cabriole-leg side chair, but made in Charleston. Please notice the eagle claw feet. This chair-maker possessed grace in his hands, a keen eye and deft touch. Only two of these are known to exist. A variation of the chair’s splat pattern is of particular interest. Research dates the chair to the 1750’s. Chair fashions have moved on. An antique such as this one is no longer made with such artisanship, certainly not to be used and only admired from a distance. Chairs of this high quality must be relegated to books and museums like this one.”

Patron: “Well, I bet the family who owned it sat on it, threw clothes on it and spilled gravy on the seat. I’ll bet one of them stood on it. I imagine it was layered in dust. My dear lady, I was only tired from walking through this museum. Besides, this chair was not well marked as an exhibit. Looks to me like you shoved it in the corner here as an afterthought. And another thing, the chair looks like most chairs to me, you know, four legs, a cushion and a back with some minor wear and tear. What else was I supposed to think?”

Curator: “The museum only asks our patrons to be mindful of its contents. The chair you so casually sat in is the result of many years of developing artistry from earlier forms. Yes, it is a chair and chairs are made for sitting, but this fine example has many ornamentations added to distinguish it as a monument to the artist who made it, a shrine to man’s higher consciousness and human achievement. Embodied in this chair is the idea humanity has no limits, the ultimate ideal.”

Patron: “Ma’am, all those words sound nice, but it’s still a chair to me, not some imagining. And if a chair tells me to sit, I’m going to sit, especially if I’m tired. Now, do you have any real chairs — for sitting?”

Curator: “I’ll be glad to direct you to the lobby.”

Grumbling and muttering to himself on the way, the patron thought to himself, “How did anybody ever think to take a simple chair and carve it into something untouchable and beyond its good intent, to take what is and turn it into what it is not?”

“Oh, the folly of any mind that would explain God before obeying Him! That would map out the character of God instead of crying, Lord, what wouldst thou have me to do?” — George MacDonald

My beloved child, I would have thee rest in me.

Deck Cheatham has been a golf professional for some 40 years. He lives with his family in Dalton. Please visit his blog at deckcheatham.com. Email him at pgadeacon@gmail.com.

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