On a sort-of OK day, coming in the middle of a not overly great week, when no one was looking, needing a ride somewhere, wanting this or that, wondering if I was busy or if I’d have time to do this one thing they really needed but didn’t have time to do themselves, I did the craziest thing.
Just for me. On a whim, without a plan.
So it wasn’t crazy, like crazy. Not even crazy like weird. Except weird for me, if you know me very well
Maybe you remember a column I wrote last October, about my mom’s rocking chair I’d hoped to have and wasn’t to be. In a flurry and hurry of Mom’s husband’s children closing out their father’s house… Well, there was no way we could get the chair.
Mama’s chair rocked a lot of babies and provided a good place to sit for a lot of friends and family members.
And I wanted the chair for the memories of those who’d sat there or been rocked to sleep in its faithful sway. I wanted the chair because it had been an integral piece of furniture in every living room my parents had since 1963. I wanted the chair because I had the perfect spot in my living room where the chair would fit, and in the time I’d believed I’d be able to get the chair, I’d imagined me sitting in it, drinking my tea in the morning. I wanted it for my go-to chair, when I might take a moment to rock, and think, calm myself, release my worries and count my blessings.
When it became apparent the chair’s acquisition was not to be, I did the thing my mama would have advised. I let it go. Or tried to, and mostly succeeded.
Because really, in the grand scheme of real problems – well – that one wasn’t big at all. Anyway, no use crying about it. I save crying for broken hearts and people who can’t be replaced.
But I wasn’t “over it” exactly. I still had the spot in my living room. And I still had the memories. My plan was that someday I would shop seriously for another rocking chair. I looked at some online, and found one or two I thought would work – free shipping no less. Except I’d imagine a relatively flat rocking-chair-size box being delivered to my doorstep, and some friend/son/brother recruit and I putting the chair together, and I’d decide to wait for a better time, a more suitable replacement, preferably all in one piece.
I never expected to find a 1960s’ era Kennedy rocker with just the right sit, solid enough to rock silently without creaking, vintage, but timeless. Not that I didn’t check out the local Goodwill and Salvation Army stores, just in case I might find something. Nothing came close, and I always climbed back in my car really wishing we could have saved my mama’s chair.
But, oh well.
The other day though, I had the oil changed on my car and driving home along North Chadbourne in San Angelo where practically every other business is a flea market or used furniture store, I chanced to see… It looked an awful lot like… Nothing waiting at home for me but last night’s dishes…
I turned around and pulled into the alley beside the store. OK, it wasn’t what I’d hoped it would be. I was trying out the rocker when the sales lady came outside where it was on display, seemingly delighted I’d stopped. I disappointed her with my explanation that I’d been looking for a Kennedy rocker, but this one wasn’t sitting right.
She nodded, her brow furrowed, and said, “Well, there’s another rocker in the back. I’ve had it for a while, and I was just sure it would move, but it hasn’t.”
I followed her and knew the moment it came into view, it was exactly what I was looking for. Same style, same finish, same curve to the arm rests. I sat down and knew immediately I’d found the chair that would fill the space and take the place of mama’s chair. Could it have been hers? I don’t know how.
But it was close enough, and I could make it mine. Call me crazy, but I bought the chair then and there. Not because I needed the chair to remember mama, but to honor the mama who taught me to appreciate the back-and-forth of life.
Editor’s note: Candace Cooksey Fulton, formerly of Brownwood, is a freelance writer now living in San Angelo. She writes weekly columns for the Brownwood Bulletin and the San Angelo Standard-Times, each unique to the particular paper. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.