The Bench

 

Ten years ago this month, my daughter and I got married to my husband in a barn.
I have talked about it here before.
I am not going to re-write that post because I really love it and that isn’t what this post is about.
As I said, it was held in a historic barn from the 1800’s that was moved down the road to the site where it sits presently and on the day we got married in 2006.

 

I spy a bench.

 

The barn isn’t that particularly nice to look at from the outside as far as barns go.
I mean it isn’t ugly but I have seen really charming barns in my day and this one isn’t one of them.
The above was taken at a really flattering angle, as to make it look a lot better than it does in real life.
Kind of like pictures of me.
I can relate to this barn, completely.
Okay to look at on the outside but on the inside, it is pretty awesome.
It was the inside of this barn that hooked us.

 

An amazing silo that you could look up into while standing at the bar.

 

Creaky wood floors that were perfectly imperfect.

You can’t recreate stuff like that in a plain beige reception hall that serves veal for 85 people.
We knew right away that this was the place and booked it immediately.

Our wedding day came and was perfect in every way.
I know everyone says that, but it really was.
Perfect for us.
We had our family and loved ones surrounding us in this barn with candlelight, music and laughter.
It was a magical night.
So magical that you could hear many a slurred sentence echoed in the barn parking lot of “you two totally need to do thissss next year!” and “YESSSS MIKE AND KARI NEEDSSSS TO GET MARRIED EVERY MAY!!!

It was as we were blowing out the candles, loading up the boxes of decorations and picking the bobby pins out of my hair, that my brother witnessed something very sinister going on in the parking lot.
A kidnapping of sorts.
Two of our dear friends were stealing a wooden bench that had previously sat right in front of the barn.
Why, you may ask?
WHY THE HELL NOT?
See, this is what happens kids, when you drink alcohol: you do stupid shit.

*Like fart in front of a lighter to see it turn blue or eat Taco Bell at 2 a.m. because four Taco Supremes sounds like a great idea in the middle of the night or steal furniture at a wedding reception because it’s sitting there all innocent like, and most likely it pissed you off because it tripped you.
And now the bench must pay.
Allegedly. 

*some of the above may or may not have been done by the author at one time or another while inebriated. 

It was the following day, somewhere in between the breakfast present opening and the afternoon BBQ/video presentation that my brother casually mentioned to us something to the effect of, oh by the way, did you know that Tim and Ed* stole one of the benches out in front of the barn?  *names changed to protect the guilty

Now, there have been a lot of changes in the past ten years but the one thing that hasn’t changed is my paranoia.
I freaked the crap out, as one would guess.

OMG ARE YOU KIDDING ME??
THEY ARE GONNA CHARGE US FOR THAT BENCH, I JUST KNOW IT!
MIKE, DO WE KNOW HOW MUCH THOSE BENCHES EVEN COST??
AWW MAN, THAT IS JUST WHAT WE NEED.
TO PAY FOR A BENCH WE DON’T EVEN GET TO SIT ON.

Once they calmed me down, I rationalized that it happened so late at night, most likely no one related to the barn police would have seen the incident occur.
In hindsight, I don’t think there is such thing as barn police but “freak the crap out me” could rationalize that point. I am good like that. 
We waited for the final bill from the barn and no bench removal fee was on there.
We said nothing, paid our bill and went on with our lives.
Looking back,  I did regret not saying anything but hey, we didn’t take it!
We had accidentally left our flower arch there that was bought for our nuptials and that Rebecca and I painstakingly worked on for an entire Saturday before the big day.
I felt like it was an even swap because in all honesty, that bench was really ugly.
The barn people were probably even happy it was gone.

Normally relegated to the basement, we brought it to the living room only to get a better picture because the lighting in the basement sucks.

 

 

 

The good-natured taunting started the following Christmas when we received a card from the family who were the proud new owners of the bench.
They signed their names and under their names, it simply said ………and the bench. 
We laughed and laughed and laughed.
Until we didn’t.
Wait a second.
We should be the owners of that bench!
That is our marital bench!
That bench must be ours!
GET US THAT BENCH!

A few months later, my brother, his wife, my husband and I were out to dinner celebrating my birthday.
It was over a few birthday drinks that we came up with a plan that evening to avenge BenchGate 2006.
We were going to get the bench back!
That night!

The four of us drove my brother’s pick up truck to the bench owner’s house and stole “our” bench right off their front porch that night under cloak of darkness.
We laughed and screamed, “WE GOT THE BENCH BACK” as we drove down the streets of their neighborhood with our fists in the air.
What a rush that was!
I finally understood why they stole it in the first place and started to worry if a life of petty crime was in my future.

That evening began a several year tradition of “stealing the bench” that went back and forth for three or four years between my husband, myself and the bench owners.
One year, Mike and I stole the bench back while they were having a huge neighborhood backyard party.
We casually walked in and started mingling and even had them make us drinks.
Everyone was either completely bombed or oblivious because the two of us were hysterically laughing and carrying this big bench while running through several yards with it.
Nothing to see here! Just getting our bench back! You wouldn’t understand! 

The tradition ended a few years ago when we finally put the bench in the basement.
I feel a little sad that we ended the tradition by unfairly putting it somewhere they couldn’t have taken it.
It was really fun, the whole back and forth.
The waking up in the morning and saying, crap, “MIKE THEY GOT THE BENCH”.
“AGAIN”. 
Everyone in our lives was getting a kick out of the bench shenanigans including our children.
We were teaching them all about thievery and sneaky tactics at a young age.
It was quite a proud moment for us.

Maybe we will put the bench in the backyard tonight for old times sake.
And maybe we will even leave the gate open too.
Just kidding.
There is no way in hell they are getting that bench back.

 

 

 










 

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