Anatomy of a Bench

A long time ago, perhaps fifteen years or so, Ace Hardware set benches out front with their logo on the seat back. Just “Ace” without the addition of the word hardware.

For some reason that I never understood, my brother called our father “Ace.” (Maybe to keep from calling him “Dad” or “Father. I suppose I could ask, but it seems too personal.) Anyway, when my brother saw the bench, he tried to buy it from the hardware store, but they wouldn’t sell to him. He kept at it, going around to several stores, and managed to get a bench. It sat in front of my dad’s house all those years, and by the time I finally saw it, the sun had bleached off the “Ace” and the bench itself was pretty much of a mess. But since it was still functional, there it stayed.

After my father died, my brother came to help get rid of some things, and while he was dismantling the bench so he could throw it away, he asked if I was aware it converted to a picnic table. When he showed that the bench back lifted up to become a table top, I was delighted. It just seemed wonderfully clever. So of course, I had to keep the bolts and framework just in case I’d ever have a place where I could put a bench.

Last year when my brother came to help me fix up some things around the house, he brought new wood for the bench and put it together. He kept the same colors, the white table and red seat, and I considered putting the “Ace” back in honor of my father, but that didn’t seem right. I’ve been trying to figure out a different sort of decoration, and today, I finally got around to painting the design.

It looks odd to me because I got used to that stark white, but what the heck. It’s finished. And even though it doesn’t say “Ace” on it, it is a nice tribute to both my father and my brother.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.