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Retired publishing executive ecstatic with the idea of spending most of his time on the coast of Maine

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


For a week now, the Adirondack chair on the shore has been without his mate. Before that, he sat for a couple of weeks with a crippled partner, her back broken off from its frame and its slats stuck ignominiously in the ground, useless. (Owner had been sitting peacefully, contemplating the universe with the help of a gin-and-tonic, when said back broke, causing no damage, some shock, and worst of all, a wasted G&T.) Finally recognizing the embarrassment, Owner folded her up and carried her up to the workbench in the garage, awaiting ministrations, which happened today.

The chairs are a personal challenge to Owner. They were rescued from a Newton neighbor's trash some years ago. They are large and heavy and clunky, made entirely from real wood (including old-fashioned dowels that pin bits together), not recycled soda bottles or some such. They reflect a certain Dutch Calvinist upbringing. Apparently, that's still important to Owner. Also, they were free. Which may be the same thing,

Periodically, dowels break. Drinks spill. Owner remains faithful to wood for a while, replacing the dowels with inadequate modern ones, which also break. Then he goes what for him is a little modern - large, mean-looking, staple-like things left over from some project of the workbench's previous proprietor. These rust in the salt air, pull out.

Today he goes heavy duty, high-tech. The dowel holes are filled with shiny, thick 2-inch screws. Everything looks secure. It's still raining out, so he doesn't re-unite the parties quite yet, even though the sight of just one chair is not right, a little lonely, braving the elements, working at his poetic place in the world, missing his mate. He's not sure how the one will accept the other, now laden with metal and possibly possessing foreign ideas.

The owner rubs his aching hands. Two inches of screw, times eight screws, is a lot of hard twisting. But only the dog will sympathize. The owner's own missed mate is far away in Newton, taking care of her family, letting him indulge his ancient dreams.

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