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Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Beach Chair

Spectacular view from the beach chair.
In 2006, I bought a beach chair.  I was on Martha’s Vineyard, and I had left my favorite beach chair landlocked and inaccessible over 150 miles away.  I loaded my new chair into my SUV, happilyly hauling it to the beach each day.  The chair provided a perch for me to read, to people-watch, to ..eat my lunch and to soak in the transcendent peace of the ocean. It served me faithfully; it served me well.  Eventually, the inevitable happened; it was time to head back to the Mainland.  I offered the chair to my mother, with the understanding that if I needed a beach chair, I knew where to find one.  Basically, I put my beach chair up for adoption, until such time as I could come back and claim it.  
I completely forgot about the chair over the ensuing years.  Life had a funny way of intervening by redirecting and, frankly, reducing my plans for beach time.  This year, I set to work emptying out a toolshed that adjoins my parents‘ house.  It was on my third foray into the shed that I uncovered the chair.  The price tag of $30.99 was still on the tag.  It was purchased at Phillips Hardware. A lot has changed since then. A For Sale sign graces the front lawn of my parents’ house.  My mother’s ghost lingers, rising from unexpected corners and unexpected junctions.  (There was the $.60 in library fees I owed on an overdue book my mother returned for me three years ago. That one felt like a quick, sharp, jolt to my stomach.) Finding the chair brought out an apparition of mother, laughing over our deal, and the bright promise of sunshiny days. These days, I eschew chairs -- for the most part -- because it is painful to sit.  However, when I found this beach chair I hoped to erase that particular take on reality.  I lasted less than ten minutes before throwing myself prone onto a jumbo beach towel.  My beach chair would need a new chair-worthy inhabitant. 
She arrived on a Delta flight from New York City. Four out of the past six days, my daughter has put the chair to use. Long days in bright sun have been spent while sitting in that chair.  When it comes time to pack up my SUV and head to the Mainland this year, I have identified a likely prospect to serve as its caretaker until I next return.  I plan to propose an arrangement tomorrow when my parents’ next-door neighbor, and my best-friend, comes over for breakfast.  This time, I will reserve chair privileges for any, and all, of my progeny!  

My daughter and the beach chair.

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