A look back at The Chair


    This year, I selected some of my favorite articles from the past 10 years. In 2009, I wrote about The Chair, which began the saga of My Sweet Al.
    Reclining has become a habit. Everything gives in to comfort. Shopping in a furniture store, a chair on the showroom floor caught Al’s eye and took over his mind. A romance began. My Sweet Al wanted nothing else. This chair was bigger than life: dark brown, overstuffed, Italian leather. It rocked. It reclined. The footrest spread out 3 feet in front and the chair pushed back to an inviting sleeping position. It belonged in the massive room of a hunter’s lodge filled with elk heads and wild pig trophies.
    So, can a man have what he wants? Is he the king of his castle? He can and he is, except not in my bedroom! Until then, the bedroom was ours. The chair prompted me to re-label the bedroom “mine.” That didn’t stop Al. He ate, read, watched television and slept in there. Yes, in The Chair. I loved our bedroom and Al loved his new chair.
    My sacred room was an artist’s masterpiece which showcased beauty and was a place to dream. Our bed was covered with a white goose down comforter and a dust ruffle that touched the floor. The off-white armoire with hand-painted cabbage roses hid an entertainment center. The bathroom showed off a marble vanity and a large oil painting of a lady in pink that hung above the fireplace.
    When we purchased The Chair, I lost the artistic battle. I tried to steer him to two dreamy aqua rockers perfect for a bedroom.
    He said, “I know what I want. A man works all day and he should be able to enjoy his chair in the evening.”
    Al brought The Chair home in a blizzard. I begged him to wait for our son-in-law to help him move The Chair into the house. Al struggled and pole-vaulted The Chair from the truck. I ran to the phone to call our daughter. “Your daddy is trying to move that monster alone. He is going to kill himself.”
    She said, “We will be over there in two hours. Tell him to wait.” In the background, Al yelled, “I don’t need any help. I can do it myself.”
    I watched him manhandle the bigger-than-life Goliath and squeeze it through the front double doors. Excitedly, he pulled off rolls of plastic, tape and cardboard and bemoaned, “Oh no. It’s the wrong chair. How could it be? It has to be the right chair. I saw the men put it on my truck.”
    Al called the furniture store. He was exasperated, irate and on a first-name basis with Stephanie, the sales person. She apologized. The men at the warehouse were reprimanded. Al re-wrapped and single-handedly squeezed the big lump of comfort through the front doors again back onto his truck. He left for Albuquerque, more than four hours away, in the fierce snowstorm.
    This unbelievable ordeal happened before my eyes. Being the good wife I am, not a word passed my lips. You can imagine the look I gave him, which was worth a thousand words. With my uplifted brow, twisted mouth and nod of my head, I let out a loud huff.
    Our bedroom was designed to be a Victorian showpiece. Not any more. Now we have this big brown elephant in the middle of the room, and Al is as happy as punch. He said to me, “Baby doll, your chair is so small compared to mine.” Dwarfed by the presence of Al’s big eyesore, I retort, “I am sitting in a petite chair meant for a bedroom.”
    The king of the castle marked his territory and is sitting in it.
    In the evening, Al sinks into The Chair and is engulfed in leather. He adoringly looks over at me with loving eyes and says, “Sweet Face, I love my chair. I am a happy man.”
    Final brushstroke: With age comes wisdom, so I nod and think, “Yes, Dear! It is better to have a big chair with a happy husband than to sit alone in a beautiful room.”
    Current day: Now I have my own brown leather eyesore. It is easier to join them than to fight them.
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