The King’s Chair · 2 September 2012

Every household has a throne, the King’s Chair. A place where only the royalty of the house sits. In some households, this King’s Chair is a special place in front of the TV. Maybe a special recliner. In others, it is the head of the dinner table. And yes in others, it is that euphemistic throne in the bathroom. Regardless of where the King’s Chair is though, everybody knows that only the king gets to sit there.

At our house, the King’s Chair is at the head of the table. The Queen’s Chair, where The Mindboggling Mrs. Miyoshi sits, is to my right. And of course, we all have assigned seats. The thing with the King’s Chair though is that everybody knows that only the king or somebody he gives permission to can sit there. A total stranger can go into a house and instinctively know which seat is the King’s Chair and will avoid sitting there.

I was reminded of the King’s Chair when we recently visited my parents. Whenever we go there, everybody knows that Dad sits at the head of the table and Mom sits to his left. Being the oldest child, I claim my seat on his right. And if any or all of my siblings are there too, we all sit in our old assigned seats. Or as close as we can get with all our spouses and kids vying for position.

The funny thing about the King’s Chair is that everybody wants to sit in it even though they know they are not supposed to do so. The youngest grandkids will sit in Dad’s chair and just grin at him knowing full well that it is his chair. But they are too cute for him to kick out. When they get to a certain age though, he has no compunction giving them a stern look, a thumb motion, and sometimes even a warning, “That’s my seat!” All the kids see his smiling eyes, but they still retreat because they know he really does want to sit in the King’s Chair to preside proudly over his family.

I thought about all of this on our last visit when I sat in the King’s Chair. I sat there because all bets are off when there is no family meal or when he is absent. So while the king was out of the house for a while, I sat there. I smiled to myself as I sat in his seat thinking about all of the implications of this special place in the house. But of course, I could not sit there long. Dad would eventually come back and want his place.

I know that I have perpetuated the idea of the King’s Chair in my own household. I give my kids the thumb when they are in my chair. They are still cute, but too old to get away with sitting in my seat for very long. I know that they are instinctively drawn to the chair because wanting to be the man of the house is a part of growing up. Part of their maturation process. But I still kick them out of my spot.

We do not want to replace our dads, but we know there is a certain splendor to his chair. Nobody wants to ascend the throne too early, but we all have a desire to occupy that one special place. We all want to sit, even if just for a moment, in the King’s Chair.

© 2012 Michael T. Miyoshi

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