Twenty years ago, when our youngest son was doing what teens do, and disengaging from us, I dreamed up a multi-step project he and my husband could undertake together: building an Adirondack chair for me.
This chair had significance both because it hearkened back to my life in those mountains, but also offered something along the lines of guys chatting with each other, without face-to-face conversation, while doing engine repairs.
It represented connection.
I have repainted this chair several times, a periwinkle color that goes with our shed door, but has nothing to do with the traditional Adirondack motif.
In my youth I had painted and repainted my parents’ six white Adirondack chairs that were arranged in a line, looking out toward the lake. As kids, we would sit there and drink Cokes and read, and when we got older, we had coffee on those chairs in the morning, and drank beer on those chairs at night.
An original wooden Adirondack chair is not something to toss aside when it gets worn down and roughed up, but an heirloom to be repaired and cherished.
When I turned my own chair over to our handyman last year due to rotting, he was a bit dubious about why I would want it to be fixed. But when he returned it, it was with reverence.
Craig had discovered the marker inscription on the chair’s underside, from a date near my birthday in 2003: To Mom, Love Tyler and Dad.
This inscription stirred wonder in a man used to living in a throw-away world. It motivated a careful restoration that preserved some of the rotting wood. Buttressed by fresh boards, the chair was readied for grandchildren, more connections, and its next cycle of use.
My birthday is here again, and before a new decade unfolds for me, I have set about getting this chair painted and ready for celebratory drinks.
The inscription, though?
That will remain untouched. ©