Sunday, May 11, 2008

Bench with Gnomes

Bench with Gnomes

Lucy wanted a replacement bench in the front yard for Mother’s Day; the old one’s wooden slats had reached the end of the line. I went looking around specialty stores, the ones which sell patio furniture and related items. I went into Chair King, the same store where I’d purchased the original park bench many years ago. I explained to the fellow what I was looking for.

“Are you here because of the advertisement in the newspaper?”, pointing to the ad sheet with his finger landing on a simple park bench on sale for $39.99, regularly $149.99.

“That’s exactly what I’m looking for.” He walked me over to the floor sample, wrought iron sides with wooden slats as I nodded in approval. “That’s the kind Lucy wants.”

“Have you sat in it?” I thought it an odd question; a park bench is a park bench, aren’t they all about the same?

“This one might last a year at best.” It sounded like he didn’t want to sell it to me, the standard bait and switch to a more expensive bench.

“So you’re telling me this is a piece of junk?” I must have hit a nerve as he explained that the other benches, the ones selling in the $300 and up price range would last a life time. I walked toward the front door as he walked to the sales counter. I think he was about to ring up the sale as I exited the front door without another word. If he’s willing to sell a piece of junk then I figured I better look else where.

I ended up at Home Depot where I had two styles of benches to pick from, one was $79 and the other was $89; the only difference being one had plain brick-a-brack lattice work and the other had a fancy one with large stars embedded. The young man said the bench would last a long time since it’d been protected with an oil based polyurethane coating; but that it would last forever with additional coatings as the years went by.

I took it home and put it together in the driveway so I could use the side of the house to act as my third arm while juggling the pieces until a couple of the wooden slats were bolted in place. I borrowed the strength of two high school students who’d just gotten home to move the old bench from the yard into the garage and the new bench took its place. “Someday” I’ll get around to replacing the rotten wood and have a second bench for the yard; that would be the same “someday” as with other projects stored in the garage.

The gnomes are for good luck and add color to an otherwise plain green yard. The plants growing under the bench are an assortment left over from when my folks moved away. Each winter we’d haul them into the house to protect them from freezing temperatures, the more hardy we left outside; they took root and have flourished.

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