There is an old man who lives in my place -- there are many old men, but one in particular -- he's a cowboy. He cares how his steak is prepared. He knows beef. And rocks. He walks like there is still a horse under him. He has a story and I need to get it from him while I can. I agreed to follow him out to the home he and his wife are leaving, the life they are leaving, so he can give us his piano. It is electronic, but that isn't the story.
The house is purple, frilly like his wife who was born in the original house. We entered through the maze of stairway ramps leading to the back door. He shut off the alarm and let me in. I'm sure that at some point his wife was a good housekeeper, but the way it is with these old people, people with children who have moved here and there, hither and yon, who aren't around to help because they live in Texas, when the old people get sick or have a stroke, life is suddenly vacated and begun again in another place. That's how this house was -- vacated mid-life. Life interrupted. Two sets of dishes covered the dining room table end to end, collections of Kachina dolls, and mobiles, and carved frogs and cut rock and cut glass and books covered every available surface. Every. So many things. A life. And in the living room, blocking our way to the piano, was a wide old rocker, mission style. Solid. I commented on the chair. "It belonged to my grandfather. Built in Portland in 1905 or thereabouts." I asked him what he was going to do with it. "I guess I'll just let it go with the place," he said. I couldn't stand it. "The kids don't want it and we got no room for it."
Anyway, he begins to tell me that the house just sold and his neighbors were buying it. He said they were good people. "But you can't just leave that chair," I said. "You can't." But there was nothing he could do. "Its not very comfortable," he said."they're making a home for battered women here, the neighbors are. They raised their grandkids. Had to. The kids were off into it bad. Drugs."
So the chair will rock the babies. I can live with that.