Chair Stories: The Bluesman

Marshall and Jeffrey picked up a pair of loop back side chairs today. Here’s a story about their chairs:

John Dee Holman says he can sing the blues to make you cry, and I believe him. His half-brother is my farming neighbor Mr. Dixon. Both were born in Hillsborough, North Carolina nearly a century ago. John Dee has been singing the blues for the last seventy years.

Mr Dixon brought John Dee to visit a few months ago. I pulled two unfinished loop back chairs off the wall for them to sit in.

“These chairs you made?”, John Dee asks in local English.
“Sure are.”
“They’re right nice. I couldn’t afford a chair like this – bet they run a couple hundred?”
“Closer to a thousand – I can’t afford them either.”
“Huh?” This from Mr. Dixon, who can’t hear too well.
“A Thousand Dollars.”
“Great-day-in-the-morning!” Mr. Dixon always says this whenever anything surprises him.
“I oughtn’t to set in a chair like that, I’d likely rise right on up to heaven.” Whenever John Dee is surprised, he says the first thing that comes to mind.

They sat there for another half hour talking about growing up splitting wooden shingles and fence rails, and about more recent troubles with their knees. Then they said their good-byes, shuffled back out to the car, and the farmer and the bluesman slowly drove out the drive.

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