It was falling apart, my chair. My forever office chair. The hours I have spent in that chair! I’ve written most of the Sanibel Sunset Detective novels sitting in that chair, written four Milton mysteries and two Priscilla Tempest mysteries (the first of which, Death at the Savoy, arrives in April).
The chair has been part of me for so many years, I hated to part with it. The chair and me were falling apart together. The decision was made to keep me (for the time being at least), but it was time for the chair to go.
For my birthday, my wife, Kathy, devilish romantic that she is, has bought me a new chair. So yesterday, I carried the old chair, the chair that has seen me through thousands of writing hours, I lugged it out to the curb.
Frankly, I didn’t think much more about it until later in the evening when I happened to glance out the window. There was my chair, my buddy for so many years, sitting forlornly in the rain. It looked absolutely lonely and miserable. As I peered out the window, intense feelings of nostalgia swept over me. What had I done to my chair? I felt terrible.
A couple of hours later, my neighbour, Kent Doney, emailed me. Kent and his father, Jack, are longtime faithful Sanibel Sunset Detective readers. He had been out walking his dogs when he spotted the chair drenched in rain.
He pointed out that Sotheby’s recently had auctioned for close to two million dollars, the chair Ernest Hemingway sat in writing The Old Man and the Sea. Never mind that Hemingway did most of his writing standing up and a search of the internet yielded no sign of any such sale, in my delirium I began to think that, potentially, I had thrown, thousands of dollars out to the curb.
When I informed Kathy of my concern, she gave me one of those looks that have become all too familiar: a combination of skepticism and headshaking disbelief. At times such as this, Kathy speaks to me very calmly and very slowly: “Ron…leave…the chair…where…it is…”
Nonetheless, I couldn’t resist going out in the rain one last time to say goodbye to my chair. “You’ve been a great chair,” I said to the chair.
This morning my chair was gone. Picked up during the night. Off to a new home, I hoped.
I wonder if the new owner will ever know that he is sitting on thousands of dollars.