Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Story Jar: The City of Brotherly Furniture

The City of Brotherly Furniture
The Story Jar

Philadelphia, 2002: Jay spent Sunday with his friend, Cora. After lunch they went to a thrift store for a few things to dress up their apartments. Jay wanted a ceiling fixture and a carpet. Cora wanted a comfy chair.

At the first store Jay found a ceiling fixture - functional but ordinary, nothing of a sparkle to it - but he considered getting it for $25 if he couldn’t find anything else.

After a bit of shopping in other stores, they headed back to the first one to get that fixture but they spotted a ceiling fixture discarded on the curb. Not totally brimming with character but lacking a price tag, it was perfect for Jay. They tossed it in the truck and Cora told him that he was a lucky guy.

The next thrift store had carpets. Persian style carpets. Just what Jay wanted. The one he liked best was about four by six feet and carried a whopping price of $200. While that’s cheap for a carpet, it’s way out of Jay’s budget so he told the guy that he would think about it. He didn’t have to think for very long.

Cora said that, luckily, they turned down a narrow street, so narrow that they generally avoid using it, and on this day the street was carpeted. Sticking out of a box was the end of a carpet. It was dirty but plenty large – 9 x 12. Into the back of the truck it went with the light fixture and room enough for steam carpet cleaner.

By then Cora had to get to the train station to head back to work in Rhode Island for the week. Jay drove her there but it was a busy day so Cora was bumped off that train. She had to wait for the morning train which was a mild disappointment that she would feel better about if Jay could just find a chair for her.

Jay took his no-problem attitude and cruised Philly. They drove down a couple of blocks and found, abandoned on the street and waiting for Cora, a fine, almost new, leather recliner. They stood for several minutes to see if someone might come back for it but no doors opened, no trucks stopped, no people showed up at all so the chair went with the rug and carpet cleaner.

They felt successful and headed home but the streets of Philly held one more treasure. It was a sticky, empty beer keg – the kind that means a $40 deposit when returned.

All this success built an appetite so they went to Jay’s house to make dinner. Cora went to Jay’s garden to clip some fresh basil leaves but she accidentally cut leaves from a pepper plant. Ah well, everyone's luck eventually changes.

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