The Chester Drawers

I’ve been writing this blog for more than five years and for the first time have a topic request. Oddly, my youngest son Mark asked me to write about this chester drawers. I am aware that most people outside the South call it a chest of drawers. I did learn to spell it, if not say it, correctly at some point in my childhood. As I recall, the person who enlightened me also made a slightly ribald comment about Chester and his “drawers,” but I need to get to the point.

The history of this chest of drawers begins before my time. It came into our family about the time of my earliest memories. A church member, who was upgrading their family furniture, thought the struggling young pastor’s family could use it and passed it along. Periodically, there was a new layer of brown paint applied, but otherwise it got no care except for the dusting assigned to the four daughters. The hourglass turned through a number of years until four girls grew up and made lives of their own, until the pastor and his wife retired and settled in her family’s old home place, until his death and her eventual need to give up housekeeping.

At that point, the four sisters sorted out and took home things that had only sentimental value. The chest of drawers went to Birmingham with Beth, the most talented DIY sister. Sensing something better under the layers of paint, she stripped it to the bottom wood, refinished it, and replaced the cheap hardware. Her DIY husband shored up the underpinnings, and it made a pretty addition to a guest room in their house. That hourglass turned through another number of years before they decided to downsize and move closer to their two daughters.

After the daughters took what they needed from the downsizing, Beth sent out an email to her nieces and nephews with a list and pictures of leftover furniture items. She said they were up for grabs with the caveat of first come, first served. Timing was perfect for Mark who was moving his family back to Mississippi and finding a house. She got a quick return email with a list of selections from him, especially for the chest of drawers that he could place in his memory in the houses where he had visited his McGee grandparents.

Despite Beth’s and Don’s best efforts, the chester drawers still has only sentimental value – a value that has my son recalling good times with Pops and Grandma. As the hourglass continues to turn, it sits in the master bedroom at his new house in Hattiesburg and draws a request for a blog.