Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Goodbye my old friend

"Dad! Someone broke in and stole all the furniture!"
 Rupert in his almost-empty family room. On the left is
 his "Santa Weenie" stuffed toy he got for Christmas

It is always sad to tell your old car good-bye as you drive away in your new one. Will it miss you? Will it be frightened, sitting outside overnight in a strange dealer’s lot when it has spent every night of its life secure in your garage? Does it feel abandoned after years of faithfully transporting you and your loved ones safely? Is is hurt, knowing you are leaving it for a newer, sleeker model? 

I’ve always felt that way about cars but never about furniture until this morning when two men from Habitat for Humanity came to pick up the 12-year-old sectional sofa, matching chair and two tables in our family room we donated to their resale shop. A new sectional will be arriving later today.

I don’t miss the chair -- nobody ever sat in it -- or the tables, though the coffee table did make a convenient prop for my feet.  But, now that it's gone, I do find myself missing that sofa. 

I spent thousands and thousands of hours on it reading, working on my laptop, cruising the internet, eating, napping and, most nights, watching TV with my wife and a couple of wiener dogs snoring between us.

Our beloved dachshund Bonnie spent ten of her 16 years perched atop one of the back pillows where the two sections came together, a comfy vantage point from which to keep her eye on everything going on inside and outside the house. Bonnie died nearly two years ago, but that pillow never did regain its shape where she squished it down, even after it was re-stuffed.

With its thick, plush upholstery, the sofa was the most comfortable piece of furniture we’ve ever owned. The fabric never frayed or faded, but the cushions and back pillows had become misshapen and the sofa was looking a bit outdated compared to the ones I see in our friends' houses. Sofas today are white or at least light colors and for good reason: Manufacturers know you'll spill something and the stains won't come out so you will have replace them more often. The old sofa was a dark brown tweed. And there was damage not readily apparent to anyone but us. Bonnie's brother Billy Ray, who lost control of his bladder in his final days (not that he or, for that matter, any dachshund ever had 100 percent bladder control in the first place)  peed on it shortly before he went to spend eternity with Bonnie on that tweedy soft sofa in the sky. We were able to get the odor out but the stain remained, so the cushion couldn't be flipped, the unpeed-on side had to remain face up. Bonnie’s successor, Rupert, in his early days, chewed a corner of a cushion we were able to disguise when company came by covering it with a throw pillow. Another cushion could no longer be reversed because it would have revealed a stain from the plate of spaghetti and meatballs I once spilled.

The new sofa was my idea. My wife said she was fine with the old one but I convinced her to go shopping on a recent afternoon and the first sofa we saw, we bought. That’s how we always make almost any major purchase— a house, car, furniture, you name it. 

So, I’m waiting for a call informing me the furniture delivery truck is on the way and, in an hour or so, the room won’t be so empty. We’re not replacing the tables or chair yet; we’re going to live with just the sofa, which is bigger than the last one, for now. We may not need a chair at all.

I just the hope the old sofa, bouncing around in the back of a darkened truck somewhere, isn’t hurt or frightened or feeling unloved, and that the next person or family who buys it will appreciate it, enjoy it, live, learn, and relax on it, and treat it better than we did.
Bonnie in the place where she spent most of her 16 years.