One of my grandfather’s stories
There was this lad, a Nichols, who was sweet
on a young woman in the neighborhood.
Her parents dead, she lived with a guardian,
Aunt Hattie, a stiff old Quaker lady
who held firmly to plain speech at all times.
Nichols was afraid of her, so he called
on his good friend Samuel Whitaker,
who stayed in Aunt Hattie’s good graces
and could maybe put in a word for him.
So one day soon Samuel went by the house
and was admitted by a servant girl
who had him follow her into the parlor
and offered him a seat there. He said later
that as he sat he had one of those moments
where the sunlight on the chair-rail eased him
into a vision of the Meeting House,
and he stared at the spare but elegant wall
almost as if he were drifting into
the receptive state of silent worship.
In due time the old woman swept in, and he
jumped up: “Aunt Hattie, do I have thy chair?”
“Keep thy seat, Samuel. All the chairs are mine.”