Every time I drove through Great Village, the old chair, sitting road-side in front of the antique shop, called to me. Even at a distance, I could see the chair’s surface peeling off. The chair’s bones still looked good; solid square legs, hefty arms and a back that was big and broad. The eight cut out triangles on the back added just a hint of good humour. In the winter, the chair was laden with snow. In the summer, the chair was blistered and cracking. The flimsy bottom slats were topsy-turvey. Finally, I stopped the car to have a closer look.
As I approached, I heard the warm tenor voice of the chair say; “I used to live in the doctor’s house. Many, many fine men and women sat in me.” The pine table next to the chair softly added; “I lived in a warm humble farm house. Six children, an old grandmother, the farmer and his wife said grace over me before all their meals. I was the centre of that happy household.” Suddenly the battered trunk under the table piped up; “And I started out in England. I carried all of the things that the grandmother and the farmer brought with them to Canada. The farmer was just a little boy then and his father was there too. An entire house-hold in a box and I was that box. When we first arrived in Great Village, I was the only furniture we had. People sat on me, played games on top of me and when the boy’s baby brother died, it was me that supported the little pine coffin while the entire community cried.”
I went into the antique shop and stuck a deal with Clair, the owner. The next afternoon, he delivered the chair, the table and the trunk. We lugged them to the basement. I started chipping off the dirt and loose bits. I sanded, glued, clamped and polyfilled. Throughout this assault, they were strangely quiet. I wanted them to be perfect again. After several weeks, I realized that nothing could make them new again. Just as I am my past, so they were theirs.
I brought them upstairs to the kitchen and welcomed them to their new home. I made a plump pillow for the chair bottom, I painted the table a cherry red and I polished the metal bits on the trunk. Together, we are all happy and beautiful.