Friday, November 28, 2014

A new home for Gumpy's workbench

Gumpy and I working on The Workbench.
My grandfather loved his click clack couch. While it was never intended to be a focal point of any decor, especially not after it was reupholstered in a hideous golden mustard fabric, it ended up being the focal point of the front room of my grandparents' farmhouse. During my lifetime, it never moved out of that room, or from its usual position against the west wall of the room unless we were vacuuming underneath it.

I remember Gumpy telling me on a few occasions that he named that sofa The Workbench because that is where he did his best work. And he considered his daily nap some of his best work.

Gumpy worked hard at all three jobs he held down, and certainly deserved to nap. When he would conk out, nothing would wake him up. My Uncle Jim helped my sister and I prove that by helping us tie Gumpy's chest hairs into knots one afternoon. When he woke up and stretched, the painful howl caused by the chest hairs ripping out could be heard throughout the house.

When he wasn't napping, The Workbench was in the middle of all the action. It was positioned so you could lay down and still watch the television. It was across the room from a Ben Franklin stove that Gumpy loved stoking with wood until the stove itself seemed to glow. If I was spending the night with Ema and Gumpy, I loved to sit under the hanging lamp that was positioned just above it, reading until Ema told me to turn off the light.

The farm was sold a few weeks before Gladys and I closed on our new house. A lot of the furniture we inherited works well in our 1926 Colonial, especially the dining room table my great-grandparents had received as a gift when they were married.

But the one piece of furniture that feels like it's right at home is The Workbench. The library in our house is lined with a light wood panelling that just needs a few more coats of lemon oil to really stand out. The beautiful wood doesn't make The Workbench look any better, but it feels like it belongs in a room like this. With books lining one wall, it makes a great place to curl up and read for a few hours, or to type out another blog post.

I claimed the library as my room. I don't need a man cave, I just need a place with my books and a desk to feel like I can get things done. The Workbench is a perfect compliment, even in its golden mustard glory, for as hideous as it looks, it will always remind me of my grandparents. I just hope I get the chance to do some of my best work on it for as long as Gumpy did.