Little Red Chair

Spending so much more time at home, I’ve developed a new appreciation for things that were merely part of the background scenery of everyday life a few months ago.

The item that’s been catching my eye the past few days is a little red chair on our front porch.

When I was five or so, my paternal great-grandfather made this chair for me. He also made a matching one for my younger sister. In gold, he painted our names across the top rail. 

Great-Grandpa was a crafty guy, from what I understand. Good with his hands. Our family doesn’t have a whole lot as far as claims to fame go, and our biggest is him. He built various set pieces for Those Calloways, the 1965 Walt Disney movie starring Brian Keith, Vera Miles, and Brandon De Wilde. I think he also supplied some of the critters featured in the film.

That chair he made for me is probably the most solid piece of furniture in my home. After all these years, there isn’t the slightest wobble or hint of a loosened joint. And it’s taken more than it’s fair share of abuse.

When I was a kid, not understanding the value of such items, I used the seat of the chair as a backdrop for a set of Dukes of Hazzard Presto Magix. For the uninitiated, Presto Magix were sets of action transfers that featured various pop culture characters. You could place the sheet of transfers on a pre-made comic book-type setting and rub the characters onto it with a pencil. Sort of like Colorforms, but permanent.

Very permanent.

To the point that, four decades later, there is still a portion of Luke Duke’s body on the seat of my chair. Not much, but enough to remind me that I didn’t have a clue how precious the chair was when I was little.

Over the years, the chair has served multiple roles. My own kids sat in it when they were small. It’s been the resting spot for my late, maternal grandmother’s Christmas cactus. And these days, I sit my coffee on the seat when I sit and read or write on the front porch. Epic G.I. Joe and Transformers battles have been fought on, under, and around the chair. Stacks of unread books and comics have weighed it down. From time to time, it’s sat neglected in a garage or basement. 

I don’t know how long Great-Grandpa figured the chair would be around. I highly doubt he imagined it would be written about in the midst of a global pandemic. But I’m glad it’s still here, reminding me of him and still providing support.

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