Rocking Chair Days

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Every home should have a rocking chair. My first piece of furniture purchased with my first real paycheck 45 years ago was a rocking chair. It came from Burns Furniture Store in Crystal Lakes, Ohio.

It was part of my life for 35 years. If it could have spoken, it would have told of days and nights of rocking a baby boy, grandmothers cuddling toddlers while reading stories, visitors who sighed as they sank in its depths of comfort.

In its arms, conversations abounded, tears flowed freely and laughter just as freely, as years wore smooth the rockers and arms. As other pieces of furniture came and went, it was the one firmly established piece of home that endured. It moved from spot to spot as the family grew. It is in many family photos, holding precious lives and memories.

Today at the large family room windows sits it successor. Large white rocking chairs on the porch keep it company, as does the rocker in the bedroom and one in the office. Really, a home can never have too many rocking chairs.

History indicates rocking chairs began to be built in North America in the early 18th century. Windsor rockers were built near Windsor Castle back then. Wicker rockers became popular in America a little later.

Bentwood rockers first came about in 1860. Built by Michael Thonet, a German craftsman, they are distinguished by graceful curves and a light weight. Sam Maloof set the present day American rocking chair standard of durability and ski-shaped rockers.

It is said that sometimes rocking chairs are associated with maturity. If that means white hair, arthritic joints and more time sitting down than standing, then surely the five rockers here are well-earned.

Our rocking chairs have gathered their own memories. Friends still sigh as they sit in them. They seem to want to stay a little longer, soothed by the soft rocking motion. More time is spent watching birds and squirrels out on the porch as the wooden runners press into the carpet.

As sunshine warms wooden arms and backs, the chairs develop a creak here and there. That’s OK, we creak too. We’ll grow older together, relishing the gentle, soothing motion of these most important pieces of home.

Any afternoon might find someone here rocking, enjoying a hot cup of tea and a cookie. Cookies and rocking chairs seem to go well together. Here are a couple of favorites.

Brown Sugar Crescents

1 cup butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/4cups flour
Confectioner’s sugar

Preheat oven to 350 F. Cookie sheets do not have to be greased.

Cream together butter and sugar. Add salt and vanilla. Beat in flour. Refrigerate dough for a couple of hours, or until thoroughly chilled.

Shape spoonfuls of dough into crescents, about 2 inches long. Remember to curve the dough. Bake about 12 minutes, or until lightly brown and set. Roll hot cookies in confectioner’s sugar. Cool. Roll in sugar again.

Cream Cheese Drops

3/4 cup butter
1 package (3 ounces) cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons lemon peel
2 cups flour
1 cup chopped pecans
Extra confectioner’s sugar

Preheat oven to 300 F. In mixing bowl, cream together butter, cheese and sugar. Add lemon juice, vanilla and peel. Mix well.

Add flour and nuts, blending well. Roll in balls the size of a walnut. Bake about 25 minutes, or until set but not brown. While still hot, roll in extra confectioner’s sugar. Cool. Roll in sugar again.