We have all the furniture in our house that we need to live comfortably. As a matter of fact, a few years ago, we were gifted a set of wood rocking chairs by our boys and we couldn’t find places for them. Eventually, we re-gifted the rockers back to the givers and they are now enjoying them in their own houses. Most of our furniture may be classified as “antiques” and, of course, many pieces were new when they arrived here. What does that say about us?

There are a few exceptions around here according to family history. We have a real antique drop-leaf table that came on the stage coach when my family moved here from Philadelphia in the mid-1850s. My mother had it refinished for us as a wedding gift about 50 years ago. We have two antique chairs that are sitting by that table, chairs that came from Evelyn’s homestead. One day, she mentioned that she would like to have them if her mom and dad broke up their house. Almost immediately, with their next visit a week or so later, the chairs were in the back seat of their car to be transplanted to our house.

We have a little “youth chair” that had served as a sort of high chair when I was little. It has worked very well over the years as, one-by-one the youngest grandchild and later, great grandchild has taken their own seat at our dining room table. It is currently out of style since all local family off-springs have taken their places in “big” chairs even if have to sit on their legs to see over their plate. The youngest live in California and haven’t been at our table as of yet. We are looking forward to their visit someday in the future.

My wife and I have our personal recliners in places that aim are eyes in the direction of our favorite TV screen, or at least as long as our eyes stay open. They are all La-Z-Boys of course, that were found in the showroom at Rockton. Evelyn’s chair is her original but I’m on my third one. The first was re-upholstered and sits in another room today. The second lives with a grandson in Kane, and this current one is the most popular recliner in the neighborhood. Bo, our in-door/out-door cat, alternates with Evelyn on her recliner and the optional choice of a La-Z-Boy love seat.

My second choice of chair in the house would come between my chair at the dining room table and the one at my computer desk. Then there is the seat in Becky, my Buick Enclave. When I was growing up, the seat is my dad’s ’40 Ford Coupe was upholstered with mohair – at least that’s what I called it. Once anyone sat in that seat, you were anchored in place just like the grip of today’s Velcro. A typical resolution was to send to some company in New Jersey that advertised covers in all the magazines that would release a person from the death-like grip of mohair.

Those seat covers were good to generate static electricity which would appear whenever a person connected with the ground. One year at Penn State I happened to enroll in an astronomy course where the class traveled outside campus to get a good look at the sky without city lights. I had just bought a new pair of “Dirty Bucks” that were like the famous “White Bucks” of that day, but were tan in color. Every time I stepped out of the car; I would be electrocuted. Those were the only shoes I had with me in State College that term, and I suffered severely until I got back home. I wasn’t interested in shopping for more shoes at that time.

My problems are often caused by the seats, not by me personally; instead by the contractor who installed the seats or the designer who told him how to do it. Theater and auditorium seats are good examples. I find it pretty hard to settle into those drop-down seats without a crash when my knees buckle and the seat drops. I prefer to sit on the end or my row where I have a chance to stretch my legs into the aisle now and then. I had such a recent adventure in the DuBois Area Middle School where we selected seats on the aisle, checked to see if everyone else appeared to be seated around us, and then dropped into our seats and relaxed with obvious pleasure to those seated around us, but you never know who is watching.

Almost immediately, a group of our friends appeared and asked if they could sit beside us and, of course they could and did! I climbed back out of my seat, left the new people through, and then plopped back into my seat. The couple in the row behind were chuckling at this turn of events they were witnessing. “Will we read about this in the paper,” she asked. The answer is probably “yes” if they got today’s paper. I needed something to write about anyway.

That situation reminded me of something a few years ago in Pittsburgh. In those days, Evelyn and I were part of a couples’ group that traveled all over the country together. Several carloads of us went to a program at the Civic Arena in Pittsburgh to watch and listen to granddaughter Holly as she sang with the All-State High School Chorus, first at Heinz Hall, then later as a group along with the Pittsburgh Symphony.

During the mid-performance intermission, I took the opportunity to walk around the building. When I returned to my seat, I discovered that the lights had been turned down for the second half of the program and I had no clue just which row I’d been seated. I went down to about the right place and searched for my wife sitting in her bright red jacket next to the empty seat ... and sure enough I spotted her. I had to climb across about a dozen other people to reach the seat and finally settled in to discover the red jacket wasn’t worn by my wife, but a total stranger instead.

“That’s my husband’s seat,” the lady said, but then added, “You may sit there if you want, my husband got tired sitting there and went off to stand somewhere in the back!” With that permission, I decided to stay put instead of climbing all the way back out of that row. Besides, my wife and friends had been watching the whole fiasco and were enjoying my embarrassment immensely. Without looking back to their row, I just took in the rest of the music and visited a bit with my new friend who was very nice about the whole thing.

After the show was over, the roof of the Civic Arena opened and a wonderful fireworks display was launched off the adjacent river. I felt kind of sorry for watching that show with somebody else’s wife but I did remember that Evelyn had our line of friends to keep her company a few rows behind. That’s the conclusion to this story of my life to this point and I have tried to be ever more careful where I’m sitting around ... whose seat ... and with what woman!

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