I don’t know what year my chair was inexplicably moved or even the decade for certain. It was probably in the 1980s. Although it’s part of my distant past, the memory is as vivid as yesterday’s sunset. Or maybe I’m thinking about the sunset from Tuesday of last week. My recollection department goes on strike more often than it used to.
In December of 1975 Jane and I moved from Valdosta to Vienna. We lived at 601 East Union Street in a large two-story house that had been modified into four apartments. At $75 per month, and located near the city tennis courts, it was in my opinion ideal.
Jane would occasionally suggest we consider building a house. I would pleasantly agree then subtly change the subject, a technique I later found useful in my work at the bank when dealing with examiners. We were a two-income household with no dependents or house payments. I figured when we eventually had children we could rent the adjoining apartment and make a convenient access through a common wall. That plan was especially enticing since my father had several solid wood doors stored at the farm. Salvaged from old houses, the doors needed nothing other than a fresh coat of paint. It was the best of times. Then we had a little glitch.
I can’t identify many houseplants, but a philodendron with its long green vines is seared into my mind. It was positioned just beneath our 20-inch Zenith television on a metal stand with stylish woodgrain panels. The bottom shelf, originally designed for stashing magazines, had been repurposed by my wife to display our hearty plant. Flowing vines of the philodendron were artistically draped to cleverly conceal four black plastic wheels. It was a Norman Rockwell den until one morning we noticed the vines were gone.
There was no trace of vines, leaves, or debris. The only thing left was a green plastic flowerpot with stubs of the plant barely visible above the potting soil.
“What could have done this?” Jane asked with considerable anxiety.
“It was probably just a little squirrel,” I said nonchalantly.
She was not convinced of my explanation. With the help of Vienna Hardware, I set a local record that still stands for the most steel wool ever bought in a single day. Jane went to Stephens Superfoods and purchased as much aluminum foil and moth balls as could be legally acquired. We stuffed every crack around water pipes, electrical wires, or anywhere that looked remotely like a possible point of entry. The next night, after I was sure Jane was asleep, I pulled the sheet over my head and pondered whether it might be time to relocate.
We had a house built on Deliesseline Drive and moved in during July of 1977. A bookcase on an interior den wall held a new TV which was placed in the center. My oversized Lazy Boy recliner with gold tweed fabric was angled from the left of the TV. Jane’s rust colored Lazy Girl was angled from the right. Our television was big enough to see Opie Taylor’s cowlick without squinting. It was the best of times again. Then someone moved my chair.
I came home from work one day, not expecting anything out of the ordinary. For reasons I will never understand, our chair positions had been switched. Mine was now where Jane’s had been and hers was trespassing in my sacred spot. Walter Cronkite didn’t look as trustworthy as he peered awkwardly through the television screen. My neck grew stiff as I tried to adjust. Jane offered no explanation and I was determined not to ask. But after a miserable half hour my resolve weakened.
“Who moved my chair?” I asked calmly with an intentional hint of frustration.
“It was probably just a little squirrel,” she said nonchalantly as she passed through the room.
About two weeks later I began to think the new location might be tolerable. By the end of two months I secretly hoped my chair would forever remain in its now perfect place. It was the best of times once more.
And somewhere along the way I realized it still is the best of times. I hope that your blessings, like mine, are too plentiful to count. Happy New Year and God bless.