Ahh, that cherry wood cabinet. At over 7 feet high, almost 4 feet across and more than 2 feet deep, it was one of those enormous pieces of furniture meant to dwarf all else in the home, say of its owners “we’ve arrived” — and house the deep and heavy 36-inch tube TV we once prided ourselves in.
You see, for a long time, my then-husband and I lived with a mid-sized TV on a mid-sized oak table in an enormous family room in an oversized house.
By early 2001, it was time to upgrade. So I worked with a cabinetmaker to design a stunning cherry set. Two smaller bookcases would flank that amazing centerpiece. The centerpiece of the home, the centerpiece of “we made it.” We spent thousands of dollars on it.
A few years later, when, suddenly, I became single, that three-piece cherry set almost didn’t make the move to my much smaller home. I was beginning to change, I think. But still I couldn’t quite bear to leave that grand nod to my former life behind, and so onto the truck it went.
The bookcases slid comfortably into my new den, but that hulking center had to stand by itself, if it was to fit anywhere, in my bedroom. The ceilings were high enough for it. Though getting it through the narrow hallway and into the bedroom was an enormous task for the professional movers, who did who-knows-what to get it in there.
And there it sat for many years. Never really at home, but with nowhere else to go. Without its neighboring bookcases, it stood out more than ever. Proud. Perhaps aware that the era of flat-screen TVs rendered the once-graceful king of any home completely obsolete. No more kingdom, but refusing to accept defeat.
Together, we didn’t give in. Not quite. I watched the old picture-tube TV, and didn’t consider letting go of — or getting rid of — that grand expression of ... well, I admit I was increasingly unsure what it was an expression of.
However, a few weeks ago, it was time to move to my new home with my new husband. I decided it was finally time to part with this cherished relic. There was nowhere in my new house I even wanted to put this paean to the past. At any rate, I certainly wasn’t going to keep the old TV.
I simply didn’t need the cabinet anymore. Maybe I have changed, after all.
I’d been forewarned that no one wanted these big cabinets these days, so forget about selling it. I thought I would just give it away to some happy home.
But there were no takers.
Finally, I called furniture movers to haul away what was left in my old house that couldn’t be used in my new one and take it all to a favorite charity. That was a load in itself. Leading the way, in all its glory, was to be the cherry cabinet. Only it was not to be. The movers couldn’t get it out of the room. Seriously. Somehow, an angle that was available going into the small old hallway to the bedroom was not available going out of it. And no, the centerpiece was not built in two parts. We puzzled, and we pushed, and we took off bits here and there, but it wasn’t going to happen.
And so that once-glorious cabinet will be taken apart and go off to some trash bin.
There will be no point in even trying to put it back together again. Just as there wasn’t a point in arguing with the movers that surely if it could get in, it could get out. The fact is, no one would want it anyway. TV hutches much smaller than this one are filling landfills everywhere.
So it ends. This once-proud monument to success being taken apart and put out on the curb. A beautiful product of a craftsman’s hands now consigned to the trash.
What a metaphor for so many things we cherish in life — things that don’t really matter, after all. Better to recognize it for what it was, simply a lovely piece that was enjoyed for a time. A thing. That’s it. And now its time is over.
The bookcases did make it to my new home. But let’s face it: Someday they will meet a trash bin, too.
Contact Betsy Hart at www. betsysblog.com.