THE SAGA OF THE TRAVELING CHAIR
LC Van Savage
This is a story about a day in the life of an innocent chair, a simple, upholstered, somewhat shabby, comfortable blue twenty-year-old chair, that went, quite against its will, on a one-day furlough but managed to return back home, battered but still sittable.
We have a friend who is in the process of moving to Maine. She owns a pleasant home but for a while had very few furnishings, so we offered her our comfy blue chair since it wasn’t being used too often. She was grateful and told us she’d return it when her own furniture began to fill up her new home. So, we trapped a visiting male to haul it out of our home and put it into hers. Seemed to be a good deal all around.
In time, our friend accumulated enough of her own furnishings and she told us we could have “Old Blue” back again and she’d make arrangements to get it to our home.
When all her furnishings and possessions were in place, our friend asked a relative and his wife, “Mr. and Mrs. X.” to take a few usable items in their truck to a place that took unused things and donated them to people in need. But something got lost in translation and the Xs also mistakenly took the blue chair, tossed it into their truck with everything else, and drove off. When the Xs realized they’d taken Old Blue by mistake, they called me immediately, fairly hysterical, apologizing a lot and telling me they’d already dropped the chair off at the donation place. However, she’d called them, spoke with one “Percival” who said that because the place would close in a few minutes, he’d put a note on the chair and we could come for it the following Monday. Mrs. X. went on to explain that Percival told them he was the manager there, to not worry, happens all the time, he’d take care of it and would be sure to put a big note on the chair explaining the situation and that we could come for it. Exhale. Chair saved.
Monday came. I called the place to say we’d be coming over. No chair said they. No note, and creepily, no Percival. Furthermore, the manager was a woman and said she was the only manager there and had been for years.
Hmmmm. After much puzzlement, I called back, got the lady manager who again repeated that “they’d looked all over the entire shop and there was not a single chair of that description—in fact no chairs were in the store at all.” Really?
Well, when I find myself in an unsolvable situation, I dump it on poor Mongo. I asked him if he’d mind driving over there and taking a look himself. He obliged me as he usually does and yes, guess what? He walked in the door and the chair was standing straight in front of him, about 2 yards away, waiting to be rescued and taken back home.
Feeling slightly ticked off, I again called the lady manager of the donation place and said, icily I hoped, “how odd that you told me twice my chair was not there, and yet my husband found it instantly when he entered your store.” Her answer? “Well, there was no note on it.” What?? “I’m confused,” says I. “If you didn’t have the chair, then what do you mean when you say there was no note on it---I mean if it wasn’t there. How does one read an attached note on a chair that does not exist?” “Well,” says she again, “there was no note.” I think this lady manager has missed her calling. She’d make an excellent spy. She obviously confesses to nothing.
So Mongo loaded the chair into the trunk of his car and drove off. He obediently stopped at a red light not far from the Shoppe of Invisible Chairs, and when the light turned to green, he accelerated. I guess he had temporarily forgotten the Law of Inertia, because our poor old chair flipped out of the trunk and landed in 2 lanes of angry traffic. He had to pull off that roadway, park, and walk back into traffic, and pick the thing up. It is bulky and heavy but I imagine his adrenaline was working pretty well at this point, and after holding up those annoyed drivers for a full 2 minutes, managed to wrassle the chair back into his car’s trunk. Oh, and before he left, I’d asked him to bring bungee cords, but, well, after 58 years of marriage, hearing can get a little selective and besides, what do cranky old wives know from bungee cords, anyway?
Now that chair is safely back in its original spot in our living room having come full circle, a bit more battered now, but still comfortable and so willing to serve. One day we’ll buy a new chair and then I’ll again call on the kind and helpful Percival the Manager who isn’t to ask him to send a truck from his store to pick up that traveling chair and to donate it to someone who needs it. But, I ask myself, scratching my head, who is/was the mysterious non-existent Percival? The Guardian Poltergeist of Chairs, or what?
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