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>The Living Room

March 1, 2011


A writing meme hosted by The Red Dress Club.

The couch was 1970’s neo-Victorian. Dark green brocade, with stiff, fabric-covered buttons and carved wooden arms. It was the “nice” couch – not the plaid monstrosity we played on and created forts out of downstairs. This was the Company couch. With it, a big gold Laz-Z-boy. Cream and gold drapes – I loved the glossy, heavy cords that tied back those curtains, and hiding beneath the white sheers that filtered the light coming in through the Dogwood trees out front. Her favorite chair was a winged-back – gold again, cream, and dark pink. We pushed its’ ottoman against the window for portraits – a static studio to record the progress of a growing family.

The Living Room, she called it, although really it was more like a parlor. Reserved for special occasions. Lovingly furnished and exquisitely designed. It was a beautiful room – envied, too, I daresay, for she had such a knack for color and style, even then.

And live it did, for all the most important occasions happened there.

Christmas was always in the Living Room. I would wake in the night and creep out to see piles of glossy packages and gleaming ribbons, gasping, he was here!

Family gatherings and parties. When guests would come, they were welcomed in this room first. Here the refreshments were served as we caught up and laughed. Where my grandfather brought his new bride, and they canoodled like teenagers in the fading light. Her smile, so gentle. She was loved.

Just off the kitchen, the Living Room smelled faintly of homemade lasagna or enchilada pie. Apples and cinnamon. Peanut brittle. The coffee table would hold trays of sausage balls and shrimp dip and fondue.

The end tables, ornately carved to match the couch, were double-decker and filled with my great-grandmother’s china teacups. Dozens there were, at one time, each a treasure she brought home from places abroad.

The piano stood against one wall, in later years, and there we pounded away, mutilating Mozart and Bach. There was no television in this room – that was downstairs. This was the place for food and conversation. Friends and family.

I remember hiding on the stairs, peeking through the banister rails during parties. The room filled with guests and the German shepherd dog, Prinz, standing sentry at the top of the stairs, terrifying all who came in at the front door on the landing below. He was just a big, overfed baby, but they never knew that.

The Living Room was soaked in happy memories. That stiff, green couch the site of joyous reunions and tearful goodbyes. Those over-stuffed chairs, were they able, could play back a thousand bedtime stories and nighttime prayers.

Sanctified and set aside for that which was most important.


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