(This is an excerpt from a column I wrote 5 years ago.)
I was five when my dad presented me with the throne.
It was made of plywood and 2×4’s; most people would have called it an ugly chair, but to a seven-year-old it was a throne.
My father built me the chair to preserve his own sanity. For some reason the swiveling roller chair, which I had previously occupied at the dinner table, annoyed my father. After a hard day’s work, watching me execute 360’s and figure eights, while I skillfully filled my mouth with Mac ‘n Cheese, was not his preferred method of winding down.
The wood throne was stiff and unmovable. If much wiggling took place splinters tended to work themselves into my back and rear. There was just one problem with my father’s plan…I thought the chair was cool.
Empowered by my lofty seat, I was inspired to try new things. At that young age I itched to put the day’s lessons to use as soon as possible. That day the lesson was in sign language, delivered by an older neighbor boy. His words echoed in my round head, “Do…THIS… to your dad.”
So I did.
In a lull in conversation, as the rest of my family chewed, I looked Dad in the eye from my throne. I held out my skinny arm with an upturned fist and let fly the longest of my tiny little fingers, the King of all fingers, the Bird. Chewing stopped, breathing may have too. My father’s eyes adjusted focus from my cherubic face to my midget digit.
He pushed his swiveling roller chair from the table and approached the throne.
It was one of my earliest lessons in table manners.
Happy Father’s Day dad!