My daughters and I admired the glass chess set, like new in its box, that our friend Weslie gave to Kathie. Jo and Kath both play chess, thanks to their dad. They admit they don’t play well, but they hang in there, learning from their losses.
After his high school days in chess club, Mark tried to teach me to play, but I never had patience enough to intently assess the playing pieces and check out the possibilities. The girls just gave me a refresher course on how each piece can be moved.
The knights have intrigued me since I was a kid. I remember “helping” mom clean out a store room that was once a summer kitchen attached to our old farmhouse. Among the many items, I uncovered a wooden box with a colorful scene decaled on the lid. Inside was Grandpa Parry’s chess set – nothing fancy, but to a child who had never seen one, its novelty held my fascination from then on. I especially liked to hold the playing pieces of riding horses.
I looked at those knights in this new glass set. These chivalrous heroes of the King Arthur legends that I’m so fond of have a majesty about them to me, surpassing the kings and queens. Even the white knight in Alice in Wonderland, who is usually played as a bumbler, signifies safety and assurance both for Alice and for me.
A versatile player on the chess board, the knight changes direction, making an “L” shape. His moves are always the same length. Flexible, yet consistent, it’s an apt description for the real, modern day white knight who lives at my house.
My husband, Mark, seldom fails to come to my rescue. His horse is a little blue Ford Festiva standard that I watch from my kitchen window through the dim light of dawn, shifting speedily along the spans of road that trails out of town from our street toward conquests of city traffic, freeways, and an aluminum extrusion plant full of things for him to do.
Its driver is most often called to service on his cell phone when, even after 10-hour days in the unbearably hot shop, his voice comes back cheerful and willing. I read lists of items for him to pick up on his way home. I can be very specific, “I need a cold 2 liter of Squirt, if you can get one, but Sprite would be OK, if you can’t.”
Within the hour of request, my knight in blue work uniform enters home through pouring rain, cold Squirt bottle in hand, triumphant smile on face, but with no crowded arena surrounding to cheer that he’s won the joust.
The girls and I don’t cheer him enough. In spite of my many silly inadequacies, Mark boosts me to accomplish much more than I ever could without him. Although I get tired of looking at the blue uniform, in his little blue car, he always rises to our challenges as my true-blue white knight.
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