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Old Blue (01/04/2012)
By Frances Edstrom

One of the dubious perks that comes with running a small business is that every now and then an account that owes you money will go out of business. Did I say ďperkĒ? It only becomes a perk, and as I said, a dubious one, if there is a way to recoup the loss by taking merchandise in exchange. Once we ate lobster two nights in a row when a long-forgotten restaurant went belly-up. For the longest time, that was the way we furnished our house. When we moved to Washington Street, our living room was furnished with hand-me-down lawn furniture from my in-laws. Hey, it was a place to sit down!

But soon, a furniture store went out of business. John called me at the office and said, ďGet down to XXXX store. Theyíre going out of business and we might be able to get something.Ē So down I went, and got three chairs. A light blue velvet, an orange velvet, and a blue and orange chair with birds all over it. (Blue and orange seem to be a given in the furniture that is left over at failing stores.) Those chairs still live, two in daughter Morganís house and one in her best friend Ruthís apartment in Chicago. We never throw anything out. A couch and love seat are now at the office. Others have been recovered and refinished many times.

In another trip to an unfortunate furniture store I got the chair that would become my constant companion, giving me comfort during my health trials of recent years. It is a blue leather Queen Anne style recliner. I know, odd. But comfortable. When I had my last surgery in late November, I told John that when I got home from the hospital I had to have the blue chair in the den waiting for me, a task accomplished thanks to my brother-in-law, Nick. It had been at the old house, which at that point was still for sale, trying to make the place look furnished. Truth be told, it is too big for our current house, and I had left it behind on purpose. But itís like a favorite blankie to a baby, itís my chair, and it comforts me.

I come from a family that has favorite chairs. We even always sat in the same spots at the dinner table. I donít remember being assigned the chair, but it was mine, and I always sat there. In front of the television, my father sat in an old brown leather chair. My mother sat in a chair they had had since I was a baby. In fact, my dad was ďhorsing aroundĒ with me one day in the living room of our apartment, and I banged my head on that chair and had to be wrapped in an old army blanket and taken to the doctorís office for stitches. Our furniture has stories, too.

So now, I am pretty much recovered from my surgery, and can sit comfortably in just about any chair in the house, but the blue recliner is still in the den, taking up an incredible amount of space. It is enormously heavy, so I canít move it by myself. In a way, I want it out of the den, but in another, I want it right there. We canít get to the couch, though, and the dog has a hard time turning around in the room, so pretty soon it has to go.

I think Iíll have someone move it to one of the upstairs bedrooms. It has to be someone who doesnít hold a grudge, because itís going to be a heck of a job getting it up the stairs. But I just canít part with it. I couldnít bear to see it go to Grace Place or the Salvation Army. Who knows if the next owner would love it as much as I do? It might be someone who burns a hole in it with a cigarette, or whose kids jump on the footrest and break it. Of course the other possibility is that no one would want it, and itís been so loved for so long that that would break my heart, and its little recliner heart, too.

Besides, if it is upstairs, on a sleepless night I could curl up in it with a comfy throw and read a book. If a head cold makes it hard to breathe in bed, I could sleep reclining in the chair. I canít face the future without my blue leather recliner, no matter if it has lost its back support, wiggles a bit when I push it back to recline, or if the leather is showing its age. Itís simply a part of my life, and we belong together. Old Blue and Old Fran, BFF. 


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