To the yard sale family on Warren Street, thank you for giving him up.
Because when I laid eyes on him, I could tell that you had loved him once. But now he was old, neglected, and ragged. As I assessed his well-being and strength, I could almost hear Sarah McLachlan singing softly in the background. You and I both understood that he deserved a home where he would be appreciated again. Patting him gently, I imagined him cleaned up and in better shape, maybe in a warm home with laughter, friendship, and music. I don’t know if it was hard for you to part with him, but it was clear that you were relieved to see him relocating. I think you knew that you were doing the right thing.
So I handed you the five dollar fee and your son helped me wrestle his bulky body into the trunk of my car.
All cleaned up and refreshed, that once battered wood cabinet, with the chipping veneer and the badly mismatched handles, found its new home today.
Wait. You did know that I was talking about a piece of furniture, right?
For me , the labeling of an inanimate object as a “he” or a “she” is not so much personification, but is more of a reminder that this object has history. This old cabinet was brand new once and was a part of a human household for a very long time. It was there as children were raised, as holidays were celebrated, and as the homeowners aged. If this cabinet had eyes, what would it have seen in its many, many years? If furniture could people-watch, imagine the stories they would tell!
This five dollar treasure was purchased specifically to be used as a turntable cabinet at Josh’s new rental in Philly. Short on time, I gave him a quick restoration with a bit of sanding and a touch of paint, plus some glue to affix the peeling veneer, and two new knobs from Home Depot. It was such a quick fix, in fact, that I actually screwed the new hardware in place right in the Home Depot parking lot, en route to Josh’s this morning.
Arriving, we parked illegally and dropped off the cabinet at the door for Josh and his roommate to carry inside while Joe and I found street parking. By the time we walked back, it was like that cabinet had been part of this household from the beginning. The sun was streaming in on him from the dining room window and Josh, his roommate, and my adopted cabinet were relaxing and listening to the cool big band sound of Artie Shaw, the King of Clarinet.
He will definitely have a good life here.
Postscript: Although my cabinet is a “he,” he does not have a name. But to my surprise and pleasure, it turns out that the six wooden dining room chairs at Josh’s apartment do. I learned today that the two that are a matching pair are affectionately known as the Twins. Then there is Nicholas, Bluie (rhymes with Louie), and of course, the sturdiest one is known as Bestie. With equal logic, the chair that is in need of repair and that seems as if it might collapse beneath you at any moment is rightly named Sh*thead.
So being an advocate for keeping good furniture in good homes, I gave Josh some suggestions for poor neglected Sh*thead. Hopefully with the tightening of some screws and a bit of wood glue, that old boy will have a good long life alongside my cabinet, listening to jazz and people-watching.
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