Yesterday I drove downstate near Albany to buy a sideboard. “A what?” asked my electrician when I told him months ago that he couldn’t put an electric heater on one part of the dining room wall because this piece of future furniture was destined to go there. A sideboard, otherwise known as (I have learned after months of watching Craigslist) a buffet, a server, or even a credenza.
This one was listed as an antique cherry sideboard for $150. I liked its relatively plain lines, and even with a half tank of gas, it would be a bargain. So yesterday I set out to track it down at a rural parsonage in central New York.
Naturally, again my printed Google maps got me lost on tiny back roads, this time among corn fields. I finally pulled over at a gas station to inquire. A woman about my age pulled out her smartphone to look up directions for me.
“I have a smartphone that used to be my daughter’s,” I confessed. “I just don’t know how it works.”
She gave me an incredulous stare. “I just retired from Verizon.” She took the phone from my hand.
“I don’t turn the data on,” I explained. “I save it for my daughter.”
She turned the data on. Her fingernails rapidly tapped icons on the screen. Directions appeared. “See?”
Actually, I did see. It really wasn’t hard at all. I’d thought I had to program it somehow to connect to someone called Siri; it had seemed too complicated.
For the rest of the ride my phone guided me between the fields, around reservoirs, and through the woods until I reached the parsonage. There an elderly, very stooped man with a bandaged foot limped out to greet me. We went inside the vacant house and he showed me the sideboard.
My initial reaction was disappointment. It was not as I’d pictured it. I found a manufacturer’s tag stapled to the back of the piece. It said “antique cherry brown.” Was it not cherry at all, simply stained cherry-color? The tag also said, “1966.” I was seven years old in 1966. Surely this was not now considered an antique? However, I’d driven more than two hours and I knew one could barely buy a fiber-board shelf for $150. This sideboard would provide a lot of storage. I told Herb, the elderly man, that I would be happy to buy it. He was pleased because the proceeds from the sale went to the church.
Now we had the problem of getting it out of the parsonage. It weighed a ton, and I knew Herb was not going to be able to do much lifting. I moved my truck directly to the door, we put the front of the sideboard on a scatter rug, and I pushed and heaved until I could cantilever it into the truck, where I slid it in on shipping blankets. For $20 Herb threw in a giant mirror that originally hung above it. I thought it might work in one of our bathrooms. I wrapped the mirror in blankets, also, and shook hands goodbye with Herb.
It pounded rain all the way home. During a short break in the storm Lucy and I puffed to bring the sideboard into the house.
I am pleased. I think it looks nice with my Craigslist cherry table, my Craigslist ladderback chairs, under the painting of our school’s sugar house.
This morning I looked up the manufacturer, Statton Furniture. Gosh!
Handcrafting the Antiques of Tomorrow
Statton has been a leader in traditional solid cherry furniture for over eighty years. You will find that our hand crafted pieces are rich with detail, finished to perfection and made to last a lifetime.
Every piece we create is unique and stamped with the date and identification number of the cabinet maker who built it. From the exquisite styling and cabinetry to the hand rubbed finishes and solid brass trim, we want you to experience the satisfaction of a well made piece of furniture that can be passed on from generation to generation. Enjoy!
The current version of my sideboard — slightly fancier with locking drawers, but much less storage — sells for $2340!