the chair

Twelve years ago, Jon built me a beautiful wooden Adirondack-style chair. We had no kids and were renting a little house in the Village. I was two years in to law school. He was working stop-gap jobs and looking for a career.

We lost a dear friend that year. Loved ones got married. It was a busy, exciting, but terrible time.

thechairJon took up woodworking. He set up shop in our dinky little one-car garage, which we mostly used to store unused workout equipment and boxes of books that would not fit in our 700 square foot house.

Woodworking is a beautiful hobby and really it is in my husband’s blood. Like his dad and his grandfather before him he has built and restored furniture as well as created hand-carved works of art. (Oddly he has not had time to enjoy it since he went to law school and we started having kids.)

So he built me a chair. It was perfect. Low enough that miss-short-legs over here could sit comfortably without feet dangling… wide arms that would easily accommodate a book and a mug of something warm. He even inscribed the back.

I loved that chair.

So I kept it. Over the years it made four moves. It survived the advent of little people jumping on the arms and demanding one more book. It (barely) survived the teeth of three dogs. It sat out in the blistering Oklahoma August sun, the torrential spring rains, and the side-ways, skin-piercing ice winds of January.

Really, it was just time that got it in the end.

We never refinished or resealed it like we probably should have. I never dragged it into shelter when the weather turned hostile.

For the past two years my chair sat on the balcony outside the door to our garage apartment. Every time I walked past it to sweep or turn on the AC or set out beer for the Samson Society it made me sad. There was so much love and time and effort and thought wrapped up in that chair. And there it sat, utterly unusable, wood softening and crumbling, screws rusted and jutting out at dangerous angles where planks had disappeared.

So last week I dismantled it and disposed of it. I wish I could say that I had plans for recycling every scrap of the wood, but I didn’t… some of it was just too brittle to be useful. I was tempted to do what I had done every other day for years: walk past it, pretend I did not have time to deal with it, hope against hope that it would be salvageable tomorrow, cling to the memory of the way it used to be. Instead I decided to face it. I took a hammer, pried apart the bits that could be salvaged, and just – let it go.
I kept the piece that Jon inscribed and the unique back slacks. He plans to incorporate them into the new chair.