CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Not long ago, I wrote about the belongings some of us can't imagine living without. Mine was a nubby old recliner I'd very nearly gotten rid of several times, but couldn't. My friend Susan Linden suggested I make something from the chair, like a picture frame from the wood or album cover from the fabric -- something more substantial and tactile than the photograph of the chair I briefly thought would suffice.
@rag:Yet the chair remains a fixture on our newly screened-in back porch.
After reading an e-mail from David Miller, of Canaan Valley, I'm thinking that holding on to my ugly chair might not be such a bad thing.
Miller suggested I do a column about those things you once owned, got rid of, and that you'd love to have back. The impetus behind his suggestion was a 1984 Jeep that Miller and his son, then 15, purchased in 1999.
Although Miller called the Jeep "a motorized Dumpster with no frills," that didn't stop him from flying to Texas to buy one that was in fairly good shape. He and his son drove it home. In 95-degree temperatures. With no air conditioning.
Miller said he distracted himself from "the oppressive heat by watching the gauges fluctuate wildly and listening to the engine cough and miss," and later, by trying to drive without a back on his seat. ("Having a back on the driver's seat is a much underappreciated device, but one quickly gains appreciation when it is absent.")
Eventually, the two made it home, then spent much of the next several months working on the Jeep together. Years later, after his son moved to the West Coast, the Jeep was put into storage. And there it sat, seldom used, for the past eight years.
Although the Jeep still runs, there are problems, and Miller's not sure he wants to deal with the hassle and expense of getting it back on the road. Keeping it creates other issues (like storage), but because there are so many memories attached to this Jeep, he fears if he lets go of it, he'll regret it.
Prompting him to suggest a column asking others if there was anything they once had, got rid of, and wished they could have back.
At the time of Miller's request, I could only reach those readers who have friended me on Facebook, but many of them had regrets.