Rocking Chair

(An original story by Dan Phillips)

a white wooden rocking chairHave you ever found something that someone has thrown away and wondered, “Why would someone throw this out?” I have and here is my story…

I was at the Green Store (an open trash dumpster) early one Saturday morning. I found a broken rocking chair and put it in the back of my truck. The seat was split evenly in two, from front to back. Other than that, it was in excellent condition. I figured a little wood glue, several clamps, and by tomorrow, it would be good as new.

Sure enough, by Sunday afternoon, the glue had set, and after two coats of bright white pain, the chair was perfect. I was thrilled because I was going to surprise my wife. You see, we were new parents to a beautiful baby boy (I’m not kidding, he was beautiful!).

Our new baby loved to be rocked, but we dint have a proper rocking chair. All we had was a thrift store recliner and it was too squeaky to lull our baby to sleep. This chair was beautiful and my wife was ecstatic. We began using it that very night.

It was perfect. Our new son nestled snuggly in the crook of my arm and my elbow rested comfortably on the arm of the chair. I began rocking. It was smooth and quiet – at least it began quietly.

After about five minutes of rocking, it developed a slight squeak. It wasn’t much really – just a small, quiet squeak. I hardly noticed. My wife was fine with it and I got used to it. Our baby seemed to rather enjoy it. It seemed to calm him down when he was fussy.

We were very pleased with the chair and wondered why the previous owner had not repaired it instead of tossing it away. After a few days, the squeaking became somewhat louder. I was considering tightening the joints, but decided to see if the squeaking would get worse.

Sure enough, it got louder and louder. It got so loud that we could no longer use to rock our son to sleep. I had decided to try and fix it. But what happened next changed my mind.

Sometime late that night, I heard the chair squeaking. I checked the bed next to me, and sure enough, my wife wasn’t there. I figured she was feeding our son. I did what most dads in under those circumstances would do – I went back to sleep.

The next morning, I asked my wife why she used the loud chair to feed our son. She told that she hadn’t used the chair. I told her about the squeaking, and she said she had heard it too and wondered why I was rocking in the chair. That puzzled us.

The next night, I was awakened again by the squeaking. I looked over, and to my surprise, my wife was sound asleep next to me. I got up and walked to the room where the chair was. It was still and quiet. I thought it was odd, and decided that I had imagined the squeaking. I was wrong.

No sooner had I laid my head on my pillow, I heard the squeaking again. This time I ran to the room. Again, the chair was still and quiet. I thought I was losing my mind. I headed back to bed, and just as I got to my bedroom door, the chair started again. This time it woke my wife. She asked me why I was rocking the chair. As soon as she asked, she realized that I was there in the room with her. She gasped.

We both ran to the room and looked in. The chair was still and quiet. We turned and left. As we approached our bedroom door, however, the chair started squeaking again. It continued all night. I was going out of my mind.

By dawn, I couldn’t take it anymore. I went to the tool shed and got the first thing I could put my hands on. I marched back to the room with the chair and brought the axe down on the middle of the seat. It split evenly in two. I took the halves and tossed them into the back of my pick-up. Then I went back to bed.

The next morning, I drove to the Green Store and unloaded the chair. I was never happier to throw something away. I grinned from ear to ear as I pulled away. I imagined what it would be like to get a good night’s sleep. I decided to take one last look and as I looked back in the rear view mirror. I saw a young man examine the chair and then place it in the back of his pick-up. I chuckled as I realized that almost a week ago, I was that young man and I couldn’t help but wonder how long it would be before he returned the chair to the dumpster.

Dan Phillips recycles old things into new houses.