This Old Couch

A family couch is a companion, through proms, homecomings and multiple Super Bowls. So much of life happens when you’re sitting down.

When we flipped the old couch to haul it out, it produced $425.25 in loose nickels, 11 socks, a Yanni CD and a lavender brassier — a frilly slingshot, 34B.

If the bra is yours, you can claim in at the lost & found (But only if it fits you, Cinderella).

I suspect it belonged to one of the daughters, but who knows. That couch had a lot of miles, a lot of nights spent watching TV till the kids came home. Proms. Homecomings. Super Bowls. Lots of Christmas specials. Too many New Year’s Eves.

If that couch were any more alive, it would’ve needed a birth certificate. By the end, it definitely needed a bath.

A family couch is a companion, and I was a little sad to set it at the curb; it felt like a betrayal. I wrestled it, as you would a polar bear, out the front door, almost re-injured the schnitzel, as my son Smaratcus stood by voicing encouragement and studying his phone.

“Good job, Dad.”

“Pitch in any time,” I told him.

“Yeah OK.”

Lots was lost on that couch, but much was found. Smartacus might’ve been conceived on that couch, which would explain the lost undergarments. Posh spent her last days on that couch, curled up in the corner, a wisp of a mother, wishing there could be more Super Bowls, more long nights, another prom.

Yep, a good old couch has a few tears in it. Some never dry.

A lot of life happens while you’re sitting around. I find that certain couches are suited to napping or reading. Some are suited to romance. Over the years, three different dogs and a wolf have snoozed on our old couch, and we bottle fed a newborn Smartacus, wrapped like a burrito, at all hours.

“Oh lord, now look what you’ve done,” I told Posh as I held the new baby.

“Oops,” she said with a shrug. And for the first six months of his life, Smartacus became known as Baby Oops.

Posh might’ve liked that couch more than I did. She had it custom made 20 years ago. Like the bra, it was a frilly thing, a couch you’d find at a lake villa in Italy.

It was the color of a watery merlot, rather formal, with these threaded tassels that began to shed in the past few years, like an old barber losing his hair, a painter of landscapes losing his eyesight.

In a former life, this couch might’ve been a baker. Or a rabbi. It’s name would’ve been Norm.

It belongs in the Old Couch Hall of Fame. First ballot. It should reside there with the plaid couch from my boyhood. It should stand next to the cruddy old beer-stained sofa from college, where a little mouse lived. Or the elegant old blue couch where we bottle fed the first three kids.

In the ’90s we had a couch that looked like heavy drapes, with paisley patterns and roses — what were we thinking? — and a pillow shaped like a basketball.

“I loved that couch,” the lovely and patient older daughter said when I showed her an old photo.

You can, in fact, love a couch.

Of course, no couch lasts forever. Ours sits on the side of the road out front. White Fang watches over it, afraid someone might snatch it such a beautiful and valuable piece.

“I’ve got this,” she says. “Don’t worry about a thing.”

We’ve arranged a pick up for Thursday. Sweaty men with too much to do will fling it into the back of a truck like an annoyance.

The departure of this couch will lack ceremony. The kids and I really should be out there holding hands, muttering prayers, playing bagpipes, as White Fang munches on an arm rest.

I should read a tribute:

“On this couch, a life was lived,

A bra was lost, a babe was fed,

On this couch we had a ton of fun.”



Someone should light a candle for this milestone moment, or keep a small pillow just because.

See, stuff is stuff, items are items. And a chair is just a chair, we all know that.

But a family couch seems to have its own tattered soul.

So long, old couch.

The Rose Bowl harvest hike is sold out. To keep it safe, we had to limit our total. If you made the list, you will get an email soon with details. More hikes on the way!

26 thoughts on “This Old Couch

  1. “a painter of landscapes losing his eyesight.” This week’s entry in the simile hall of fame. A lovely eulogy for a family heirloom.

  2. If these cushions could talk. Nostalgic. Fitting send off to a faithful piece of furniture that saw the best of times, the worst of times. You definitely can love a couch. Living rooms were meant to be lived in. Not sure if it reminds me of the Bundy’s couch from Married With Children though. It’s an iconic look nonetheless.

  3. One of your best, Chris, a story that makes a tear come. We all have had such couches and such memories.Thank you for helping us remember ours,

  4. Ahhhhh, the majestic Russian girl lies in wait, guarding her treasured couch/toy.
    Wait……she is a couch too!

  5. I had a 7 footer !
    Standard birds ! Wolves nature ect !
    I opened a wall during remodel to allow nap couch to be inserted !
    Loved that couch !
    As a Fireman working 48 , 72, 96 , 120s
    The couch saved my life

    Was sad at garage sale to give away

  6. After my Father past away, we sold the family home after 50 years of living, loving , crying, for all manner of celebrations! But what to do with the sentinels of those beautiful days? We didn’t want them’ thrown to the Winds’ at an estate sale, wondering “where did everyone go?”But as luck would have it, the buyers wanted it all. So my sisters ,brother, and I were glad they could all stay together. We tend to anthropomorphise.Do we need help? Love your musings!

  7. Chris Craft

    Your couch is like a boat
    Steady as she goes, I note
    Surely female, couched in furs
    Of shredding fabrics: she prefers
    The louche ways of her voyagers
    Love of life in her coffers–
    Detritus vast as the sea
    Memories trail in her lea
    But, like any boat, the clock
    Eventually puts her in dry dock
    Landlocked lover soon in motion
    Consigned to salvager’s devotion-
    Another half-life of debris
    Launched down the ways to anonymity
    Like any ship–resigned to fate
    A love affair of wood and cotton
    She will not soon be forgotten…

  8. Like any ship–resigned to fatte
    Beloved by each faithful mate….

    Is what I meant to say
    Then, it will come out the right way

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