When I was in graduate school, a professor tried to make the point that objects don’t speak by setting before us a plain wooden chair. As she anticipated, none of us guessed the chair had been rescued from the Harlem ballroom where Malcom X was killed.
But I’m still inclined to believe chairs are pretty good connectors to the past, perhaps because it’s so easy to imagine how they were used: They’re the material opposite of the coffee grinders and cherry pitters that museum docents use to stump visitors. So I jumped at the chance this afternoon to buy one of Hominy Grill’s original chairs, which the restaurant’s now selling off for 30 bucks apiece.
The Windsor chairs, with their gracefully curved backs and thinly-padded seats, predate Hominy’s tenure at the corner of Cannon and Rutledge: When chef Robert Stehling in 1996 purchased the restaurant, the previous owner offered him the chairs at an absurdly low price. In a dining room where so many patrons often hail from elsewhere, staffers came to appreciate the steady permanence of the chairs. Continue reading