39: Curb Appeal

39: Curb Appeal

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Home Sweet Home

Curb Appeal

The best things in life are unexpected — because there were no expectations.

~Eli Khamarov

Our home renovation was almost complete but we still needed a new headboard and footboard for the master bedroom. I browsed among the displays and asked about the antique-style bed. The saleslady told me, “It’s cherry wood, but not really cherry wood, because people can’t afford real cherry wood because it’s too expensive, so it’s a cherry finish that resembles cherry wood.” The cost of the non-cherry wood bed rivaled the price of a mini-vacation. Buying a new bed would have to wait.

The next morning I awoke while it was still dark. I heard my husband, Jim, in the shower. Before leaving to teach third graders, I put on my jogging clothes and running shoes, and stumbled out the door into our sleeping neighborhood and a drizzle. The street was empty except for garbage cans waiting for the early morning pickup. A block away I discovered several pieces of furniture abandoned on the curb and paused under a streetlight to inspect the trash. I stared in disbelief when I discovered a treasure… a beautiful, antique bedstead.

The tall, curved headboard appeared to be mahogany, bordered by exquisite carvings, and accented with an inlay of lighter wood decorated in a floral motif. Sturdy bedposts stood like sentries. Propped next to the headboard was the matching footboard. I could hardly breathe, not from jogging, but from the excitement of finding this breathtaking four-poster bed that was now… mine.

Raindrops rolled down my cheeks as I pondered my next move. My petite frame was no match for this massive bed. I would need my husband’s help. Then, my heart sank when Jim’s truck appeared and I watched the red taillights grow smaller as he drove to work. I was on my own and needed to rescue this bed before the drizzle ruined the wood or the garbage truck hauled it away.

I strained to raise the headboard to a standing position and slowly maneuvered it to the middle of the street. I walked it from side to side, like a giant crab, and worried my neighbors would come outside for their morning papers and stare at me.

I was out of breath when I delivered the headboard to our garage floor. Then I sprinted back and returned with the footboard. My rescue complete, I crouched over the wet wood and tenderly dried it with paper towels. I hauled bricks from the construction pile outside and positioned them to discourage warping.

Feeling euphoric, I grabbed a quick shower and rushed to school.

That evening I showed Jim my find.

“This bedstead will look great with our other furniture,” he said. “But it’s so heavy. How did you get it home?”

“Determination and adrenaline,” I replied.

The next day, our contractor attached the headboard and footboard to our bed frame and paused to trace the carvings with reverence. He asked, “Where did you buy this beautiful antique?”

“I found it among someone’s trash. It had ‘curb appeal.’ ”

“I don’t believe you. It’s too valuable to have been thrown away. You must have bought it at an antique shop.”

I beamed with happiness.

That night I lay on the soft mattress, snuggled between crisp sheets and thought, “Now I lay me down to sleep. This awesome bed is mine. to keep.”

~Miriam Hill

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