When I purchased the building that housed my antique shop little did I or the couple who sold it to me, Bob and Shirley Leach, realize how intertwined our lives would become. From helping me with my remodeling projects, to being supportive when things were difficult, they soon became more like family than the acquaintance relationship one would expect when one sells a property.
Just before Christmas a couple of years after I’d purchased the building, I began thinking about my annual Christmas gift to them. There were two problems with this; first Bob and Shirley weren’t an easy couple to buy for, their tastes went to quality antiques, and since I had purchased most of my inventory from them, it certainly wouldn’t work to give them something I already had. Then, probably the most important problem was that I had little money to purchase anything with, starting my business had taken everything I had.
Fortunately as we visited one day Shirley mentioned that someday she would like to have a small child’s chaise lounge she had stored in their barn upholstered to match her sofa. Here was something I could do. There was only one problem, the chaise lounge was locked in their barn, and the fabric was in their house.
After thinking for several days on how I might best extricate the chaise and fabric from their premises, I decided to enlist the assistance of their daughter-in-law and grandson. Fortunately their daughter-in-law had a key and between her and their grandson they finally found the chaise in the crowded barn and somehow found the fabric as well.
By the time they delivered the counter band chaise I had a couple of weeks to reupholster it for their Christmas surprise. As Christmas drew near I invited them and the Dean, the lady who was assisting me at my antique shop to a Christmas party. I placed the chaise in a prominent place with a bow on it.
Bob and Shirley walked into the building oohing and awing over the Christmas decorations, but they walked past the chaise without saying a word. I’d thought that they would recognize the little chaise so my next thought was that they were disappointed with it.
The four of us sat down for our celebration and after we ate I gave Dean her present, and then turned to Bob and Shirley telling them I had redone the child’s chaise lounge for them. It was then I learned the truth. Finding that the chaise her granddaughter had slept on as a small child was still hers and had been recovered to match her sofa, Shirley shared her thoughts on walking through the door and seeing the chaise in the store. She had recognized the chaise immediately; the problem was that her first thought was she had included the chaise in the inventory that she’s sold me. She was upset because she thought that she had sold me the chaise by mistake.
Many years have passed since that Christmas surprise but the chaise still has a place on honor in Bob and Shirley’s home, and every year we laugh about my heisting the chaise.