Sofa so good: Man and dogs' best friend is an old couch

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I'm sittin' here watching my dogs sprawled out on the couches in the Rusty Nail Saloon and thinking about how those couches were once brand new and the center pieces of my parents' grand living room.

But now they're just old dog couches, I guess.

I remember the day I came home from school and those same couches were sitting in the upstairs living room. They were a huge upgrade from the vinyl hide-a-bed and green lowboy that we'd had since before I was born.

Not that there was anything wrong with those guys. Initially, we moved them into my bedroom, which was awesome because then I had a place to sit and chill instead of just a place to sleep and play.

They were good couches, too. Like everything else, they just don't make 'em like they used to!

They traveled with me for several more years and a couple different places before they were just completely done in. It was hard to let 'em go, but at some point you have to make tough decisions.

It's not quite like having to put a pet down, but not too far off. Those couches felt like home, no matter where they were -- almost like a child's blankie.

We took family pictures on them, watched the first space shuttle launch on them, opened Christmas presents on them, friends slept on them and who knows what else --maybe even a couple first kisses on them.

The living room couch is like the heart of the household. Everything revolves around them. They're almost part of the family.

So, like I said, those new couches were nice. It took a little while to get used to sitting on them though; of course, they weren't broken in yet. That takes years, really. Everyone finds their favorite spot and eventually the cushions conform to the way you sit on them.

It's funny. If someone else is sitting in your favorite spot and you have to sit somewhere else, nothing feels quite right. Too soft or too firm, the angle to the TV is all wrong, the view out the windows is different and the lighting is odd. Everything is thrown all outta whack!

Anyhow, eventually we got those nice new couches broken in just right and they gave us years of relaxed enjoyment in the upstairs main living room.

At some point along the way, my parents got a new set of couches and the perfectly broken-in couches were moved downstairs to the other living room. At that point, my brother and I were in our teens and hung out downstairs most of the time, so we thought it was the greatest thing ever to have those couches. They stayed there for another decade or so, providing perfect comfort and so much more.

When my mother told me she was going to replace them I immediately staked my claim. And yes, I hauled them from Seattle way out here to Walla Walla County.

They fit in perfectly in the Rusty Nail Saloon -- my "manland." Of course, now that they're probably 25 or 30 years old, they're a little worn. Not quite as bright and vibrant as they once were. It's shocking to flip a cushion over and see just how faded they really are ¬?-- the sun and dust way out here have really done a number on 'em. Not to mention the dogs.

Both of our dogs are fairly old and pretty much live inside full time now, and they like spending time in the Rusty Nail as much as I do. We don't let 'em get on the living room couches (Those came from mom's place, too!), but we pretty much consider the couches in the bar to be theirs. They look so happy and content sprawled out on them, just like I once was all those years ago.

They're still perfectly fine for sittin' on, too-- after a good vacuuming, of course -- still providing comfort and hominess all these years later.

I suppose at some point they'll be too worn for the house, but I doubt I'll get rid of them then. I'll probably just move them into the shop or maybe onto the back porch. Yeah, outdoor couches are awesome! I figure these guys have at least another decade or two of good use in them -- maybe more.

It's amazing how attached we can get to heirlooms. But if you think about it, what's more important than family and friends? And things like couches become ingrained into our families. Like I said before, they're even in family photos, right?

They're so much more than inanimate objects, just as our pets are so much more than just animals. They're actually members of the family.

As a matter of fact, I think I'm gonna go join my dogs and take a sit in my favorite spot right now!

Burbank-area writer Erik D. Walker, author of "In Pursuit of the Perfect Burger" and "Excellence Everyday," both available at amazon.com, can be reached at erikandtina@walkersranch.com.

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