Flabbergasted

ChairStick Keep

After resting for awhile, Herbert arose from his chair, and spoke to his wife who was busy in the kitchen. “I’m going back out to the shop and do a little more work.” Brenda walked over to him and placed her hand on his shoulder. “Honey, you’ve been working on that rocking chair for over a year. Why couldn’t you just go buy one like everyone else?” Brenda knew her husband well. After all, they’d been married for forty years. She knew he wasn’t about to buy something he could build himself. “It won’ be much longer, I’m nearly finished.” Herbert said. “I have a little more sanding to do, and tomorrow I can put the finish on it.”
Over the years Herbert had built a few things for the house, such as small tables and lamps. But this rocking chair was a special project, with a special purpose. He had long thought about the days of his retirement. Sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch with the cool summer breeze blowing across his face. Just a-sitting in the chair, rocking and waiting for the mailman to deliver his Social Security check. Besides, what else is a crippled up old man supposed to do?
Brenda and Herbert were very fortunate. They had planned well for their retirement years. The dream house they had built was finished a few years ago. The house is located on a hill in the country with lots of trees. A friend of theirs had given them a porch glider, and they frequently sit in the glider watching the birds and the squirrels at the feeders placed among the trees. There is a long drive-way which curves down the hill among the trees to the main road. When the mailman arrives, especially on the day the Social Security check comes, Herbert will take his walking stick and walk down the long drive-way to the mailbox. There is just something about walking down to get that check that Herbert really looks forward to.
“Well, just don’t stay out there and wear yourself down like you usually do,” Brenda said. After entering the shop, Herbert looked at the rocking chair and wondered why he had waited so long to build it. No matter. It was nearly finished now. “Over a year of work, just to sit in this rocking chair and wait for the mailman to deliver my Social Security check”, he said aloud. Then he thought, “It will be well worth it”. Herbert went right to work. He was really anxious now, after working so long, and the end in sight. The sanding was soon finished, and Herbert stood back and admired his work. He would put the finish on it tomorrow, let it dry, and get his neighbor to help carry it to the porch.

Herbert awoke early the next morning, more anxious than ever about finishing the chair. Brenda would be surprised, he wasn’t usually up this early. Gently getting out of the bed, so as not to wake his wife, he noticed Brenda was already up. When he walked into the kitchen, he saw his wife sitting at the table holding a cup of coffee out to him, and a big smile on her face. “Fooled you, didn’t I”, she said. “I knew you’d be up early this morning”. “You think you know me pretty well don’t you”, Herbert replied as he took the coffee and sat down.
After the usual small talk Brenda said, “You haven’t forgotten what today is, have you?” “No I haven’t “, he answered. “And I have plenty of time”.
Upon hastily finishing the coffee, Herbert headed for the door. “Will you call our good neighbor for me and tell him I’ll need his help moving the chair in a little while?”
By noon, the rocking chair was on the porch. All the hours of hard work were finally over. With Herbert sitting in the rocking chair, and Brenda sitting in the glider by herself, she remarked, “If you don’t slow down, your going to rock that chair right off the porch.” “I know,” Herbert replied, “ I’m just kinda excited.” But Brenda didn’t stop there. “Well, you slow it down, I don’t want to be picking you up off the ground.” “I’m going into the house.”
Herbert settled into a gentle rocking of the chair and waited for the mailman to bring his Social Security check. He was starting to get worried. The mailman was later than usual. Finally, he heard the honk of the mailman’s truck, up the road at the neighbor’s house. The mailman always honked at the neighbor’s house. “ It’s my turn next”, Herbert thought as he reached for his walking stick.
When Herbert retrieved the mail from the mailbox, he didn’t see the brown envelope that his Social Security check came in. In a panic, he sorted through the envelopes. It wasn’t there. He took out his reading glasses and looked through the letters again. He found a letter from Social Security, but it was in a white envelope. With his hands shaking, Herbert tore the letter open. He was completely flabbergasted as he read the contents of the letter. It read: For your convenience, we will now be depositing your monthly Social Security payment in your bank electronically through direct deposit.

Floyd H. Smith, Jr.
April 4, 2002

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