by Mark Poe
I have a lawn chair named Matthew. Matthew is as much a part of my family as the rest of this farm. Just as every pecan tree or chicken coop or storage shed that sits on it. He’s really nothing special to look at. He’s weather-beaten and life-battled. Rust holds the spots where bolts once were. Bare metal indicates where he’s been tossed around by the winds and thrown like just any other piece of outdoor furniture. That’s how he’s like me. The coat of black paint that once glistened in the new spring light now is spotted and worn slick from time and use. He probably was once the pride of my grandfather, as he would sit on him in the evenings after long days in the field, worn down from hand-chopping or hand-picking cotton. Matthew was there waiting for him. He was a momentary relaxing transition from the harsh Arkansas summer heat to the cool shower before supper. He was a recharging station for the body to move to that next part of the day. He would allow the mind to mull over the thoughts of the farm life and clear the doubts, before going in to see Grandma. The little extra time it took to change the worrisome smirk of the farmer’s brow to a warm and loving look in the eyes to give her the peace that all was well.