Two weeks before the 4th of July holiday, I received a request for a custom bench that was needed the beginning of July for a family gathering on the shores of Lake St. Catherine.
I usually steer clear of rush orders for my own sanity. But then the customer told me why he needed them so fast. Earlier this year they lost their brother, and they always gather twice a year at their house in Vermont as a family. He wanted the bench to be a surprise for his family and something symbolic for them as they gather around the fire pit at night. I knew it wasn’t something I’d pass on. We quickly agreed on a design for two matching benches out of a beautiful slab of cherry and I got to work.
Not knowing this family or the property it would be going on, I went with my instinct. I had no idea the patriarch of the family was a woodworker when I decided on plugs. Going with my gut on how to attach the legs to the bench top paid off.
I asked him if he’d like anything wood burned into the benches since they were symbolic for the family. At that point, he informed me that the second bench was in memory of his mother, who also had passed away. Both benches were a surprise for the family.
By now, there was a quiet reverence (and a lump in my throat) while I worked in the shop on these. I felt humbled and honored and grateful to be commissioned to create these.
As many of my own family memories were of us gathering in Vermont twice a year around a campfire, not far from where this order was delivered, I know how cherished, chaotic, unpredictable, and precious that time together is.
The brother tells his story best:
(Their dad thought that the benches were too nice to keep out by the fire pit, so they are now in the family room where the family gathers together in winter.)
To this family…thank YOU.