“The Best One”

For years, two white wooden rocking chairs sat on the carport at the little house on Highway 22 in Maplesville.

The one closer to the door into the house was Momma’s chair, while the one separated from it by a small side table was Daddy’s.

The morning following Momma’s death in 2003, I walked down the steps onto the carport to find Daddy in her chair.

I didn’t say a word…just took my regular place in the straightback chair next to the picnic table Daddy had built years before.

“Did you sleep any at all, Daddy?”

He raised his head. The bags under his bloodshot eyes answered that question for him. All he said aloud was, “I cain’t stand to see this chair empty, so I’ll be sitting in this one now on, I reckon, son.”

“She’d like that,” I assured him.

“I ain’t never gonna plant another seed, I’ll tell you that.”

“How come, Daddy?”

I understood why he hadn’t gardened at all the two years Momma had been sick, but I never once figured he wouldn’t go back to doing what he had loved to do for decades.

“That was something me and y’momma did together. We’d sit and figure out how many rows of this and how many plants of that we’d set out. And when the stuff come in, we’d pick it and put it up together. Son, to tell the truth, it ain’t in me no more.”

Their devotion to and love for each other were a blessing for Aubrey and me to be born into and live life in.

A few months after Momma “left him” (that’s how he referred to her death), different folks would from time to time ask him if he thought he would try to find another lady.

He would have none of that. “I was with the best one for all them years. I’m gonna wait on the time I’m with her again.”

Aubrey and Patricia and I have wondered time and time again what prompted Daddy to get on the road that day just over ten years later when he drove his pickup out of the driveway for the last time.

We’ll never get an answer. But you know what? On that day…Daddy went Home to be with his “best one” again.

Steve Latham – May 5, 2017


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