A New Old Garden Benh

January 6, 2022

Reflections, Day 85

“People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone.”
― Audrey Hepburn

I scarcely glanced at the old, weathered bench that was behind the collection of flower pots, ornamental planters, old birdhouses, and other gee-gaws. A lady I had known for a number of years had passed on and her son was disposing of many of her possessions.

There were a number of interesting pieces in the garden collection, and I thought that I could use or profit from them, so Dekie and I made an offer for the entire group. The lady’s son said that he would help me load my truck so I went home and got it. When we were almost finished loading the truck, the son picked up the gray, lichen-covered, rickety and broken bench. I wasn’t sure that I wanted it but he said, “You bought the lot so you have to take it all.”

The bench sat in a corner for about a year. I started looking at it one day. It did have a bit of charm. I picked up the broken-off armrest and examined it. The dowels that had held it together were broken so I got my trusty DeWalt out with a brand new sharp bit and started to drill a hole.

The drill bit smoked and broke.

The wood on the bench laughed me,

And that’s when I learned about teak.

“Teak is hard,” a friend said. “You have to have special equipment to work on it.”

The bench sat there another six months. One day Bob Harris visited. Bob is a retired teacher, a writer and illustrator of children’s books, and an amazing wood-worker. He examined the piece and said, “The wood is very hard and the builders of this bench used oak dowels to hold it together. These dowels rotted for years and finally broke.” He then looked up and smiled, “I can fix it.”

I delivered the bench to Bob’s basement shop and promptly forgot about it.

We picked it up today. It is sturdy and stout. The bench is well-built and comfortable.

Bob wanted to refinish the piece, but I rather liked the grey patina.

What do you think?

Now it is a garden treasure.

—john schulz

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