Last week in A tale of two red chairs – Part one I shared how a red leather chair became one of “the things that matter” in my life. Today, Red Chair #2.
RED CHAIR #2
The back story:
My closest friend’s mother died in 2010. It was hard watching her struggle with the loss of a parent but gradually, over time, her life settled into a “new normal” and we resumed our summertime routines together – cooking out, drinking strawberry sangria, and hitting every yard sale we could find. Ironically, one of my prized sale finds was from her yard – an old, powder blue, metal lawn chair. (One person’s trash . . . ) It wasn’t pretty but it reminded me of the chairs that used to sit on my aunt’s porch so I had to have it, rust spots and all. Besides, I knew I could make it shine so I took it home, cleaned it up and got busy covering up the tired old rusty blue with a shiny coat of red.
The story that matters:
A few weeks later my friend asked how I liked the chair.
Me: “I love it. It looks perfect on my back patio.
Her: “Good. I’m glad you’re the one who bought it. It was my mom’s chair and I’ll always remember her sitting on it out in our yard.”
My heart sank. I had no idea. No idea it was her mother’s chair. No idea it was a tangible connection to someone she would never touch again – a connection I had smothered with layers of Krylon glossy red.
I had to tell her. She would know anyway the first time she came over to sip sangria.
“I painted your mom’s chair,” I blurted out. “Red.”
“Red was my mom’s favorite color,” she said quietly.
With those six words my horrible mistake became a tribute – a way to honor her mother’s memory, not erase it. And that red lawn chair became one of the most valuable things I own. Not because it tells my story, but because it tells the story of someone I love, and someone she loves. Turns out “the things that matter” aren’t always about us at all.
I have to confess the chair isn’t looking that pretty these days – my paint job was a little shoddy. Some of the red has flaked off and while I would normally scrape, prime, and repaint those ugly little chips I think I’ll just let the faded, slightly rusty, blue shine through this time.