If you can’t beat them, join them



By Betty Slade

Musical chairs: a familiar game played by young and old alike. The rules are simple. The music starts while players walk a circular path made of removable chairs. The music stops, then each party scrambles as they push and pull their way to be the last man, or woman, sitting. And so, this story goes.

I made such a fuss when my Sweet Al purchased a big, brown leather recliner and brought it home to put in our bedroom. The ugly chair overtook my small pink rocker and my cabbage rose settee. Didn’t he realize that his lounger was challenging my bedroom’s beautiful décor?

I came home one day and found a new 55-inch television sitting right in front of the ugly chair. The response? “What am I going to look at as I sit in my beautiful chair?”

“Well, you could look at me. Besides, it’s our bedroom. You are turning it into a man cave and have ruined the ambiance.”

My Sweet Al argued, “A man needs to be the king of his castle.” 

I learned long ago not to touch that one, but I never thought I would see a throne sitting smack-dab in the middle of our bedroom.

The backstory began years ago when a treasured bootie caught Al’s good eye. It was overstuffed and larger than life. It rocked and reclined and had a footrest that spread out nearly 3 feet. 

There was a blizzard on the day when Al brought home his new chair. I told him that I would call our son-in-law to help him carry it into the house. But, before I could even get a dial tone, he had pole-vaulted the chair out of the truck and onto the porch. 

Like a kid on Christmas morning, cardboard and plastic wrap shot through the air as Al uncovered his pièce de résistance. Then, there was a quiet hush and a hot glow. “It’s the wrong chair. The warehouse gave me the wrong chair.” 

I can’t repeat what was said on the subsequent phone call between my Sweet Al and his new ex-best friend, a saleswoman named Stephanie. But, in the blink of an eye, that chair flew across the porch and back into the truck just moments before my big lump of comfort sped off en route to the store. 

Yes, I witnessed the whole thing with my very own eyes. By the time my Sweet Al got home with the right chair, I had made up my mind that I would be supportive of whatever the outcome, whether I understood the absurdity of the moment or not.

And now, our sacred room that was once an artist’s masterpiece resembles a hunter’s lodge where you would expect to see elk and boar head trophies.

My, how things have changed, or perhaps I’ve changed. For my birthday, I requested a new chair. Of course, I wanted something in soothing aqua to match my hand-painted armoire, throw pillows and shams, but I guess those days are gone. 

Today, the family dogs have taken over our bedroom and Netflix is the only entertainment. As the saying goes, if you can’t beat them, join them. 

A recent trip to Albuquerque caused my eye to wander in the direction of my own overstuffed recliner. I looked at many different chairs, but most were too big or too small. I knew if I searched for the perfect one, I would know it when I saw it. After all, it worked for my Sweet Al.

After visiting several furniture stores, it was as if a halo of light appeared from the heavens. There sat a beautiful brown leather recliner. It had a remote that would animate the chair, allowing it to rise straight up. The lumbar fit against my back like a strong, trusted hand. There was even a USB charger built in and secret pockets to store my midnight snacks. 

Like a swaddled baby, I sat in the comfort of my new find. And, with the touch of a button, I was lifted to a standing position, then nearly thrust across the salesroom floor with credit card in hand. I would never have bought a chair like this, but now I find myself bringing up the rear. 

Final brushstroke: It is probably best not to go chair shopping when Muzak is playing overhead. It has a way of making a person search for a chair they didn’t know they needed. One thing is for certain: I am getting too old for games where I need to fight to cushion my keister, but the end result is comforting. 

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