Friends, Humor, Marriage, Nonsense

The Bench

My daughter and I married my husband in a barn ten years ago this month.
Our wedding was held in a historic 1800s barn that had been moved down the road to its current location on the day we married in 2006.

You can see “the bench” at the bottom of the picture if you look closely.

In terms of barns, the barn isn’t particularly appealing from the outside. It’s not ugly, but I’ve seen more charming barns in my time, and this one isn’t one of them. The above photo was taken at a very flattering angle, making it appear much better than it does in real life.
Like photographs of myself. So I totally get this barn. On the outside, it’s fine, but on the inside, it’s fantastic.
It was the interior of this barn that drew us in.

A fantastic silo that you could gaze up at while standing at the bar.
Creaky wood floors…

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

Our wedding day arrived and was perfect in every cliched way.
I know everyone says it, but it was true.
We had a small gathering of our favorite family and loved ones in this barn, with simple candlelight, loud music, and lots of laughter.
It was a truly magical evening.
So magical that you could hear many a slurred sentence of “MIKE AND KARI NEEDSSSS TO GET MARRIED EVERY MAY!” echoed in the barn parking lot.

That’s what we thought.

My brother witnessed something very sinister going on in the parking lot while we were blowing out the candles, loading up the boxes of decorations, and picking the bobby pins out of our heads.
Two of our dear friends/wedding guests were stumbling to their car, carrying a wooden bench that had sat directly in front of the barn, and shoving it into the trunk of their car.

The next day, somewhere between our casual breakfast and the afternoon BBQ/video presentation, my brother casually mentioned to the group, “Hey, did you know Ted stole one of the benches out in front of the barn?”

There have been many changes in the last ten years of my life, but one constant has been my ability to freak out about almost nothing of substance.

Following the discovery that property from the barn had been stolen, the following words may have been uttered:


We eventually reasoned that because it happened so late at night, no one connected to the “barn police” would have witnessed the incident.
Also, I don’t believe in “barn police,” but I could certainly rationalize that point.
We waited for the final bill from the barn, but there was no “bench removal fee” on it.
We said nothing, paid our bills, and went about our business.


In retrospect, I regret not saying anything to the barn, but we had inadvertently left our flower arch there, which Rebecca and I had painstakingly worked on for an entire Saturday before the wedding. I thought it was a fair trade because, in all honesty, that bench is hideous. The barn owners were probably relieved it was gone.

We were doing them a favor.

We kept the bench inside during the summer for fear of it being stolen. I wish this was made up.

The good-natured taunting began the following Christmas when we received a holiday card from the family who were the proud new owners of the bench, our shifty friends Amy and Ted.

To be clear, Amy and Ted are two of the nicest and most entertaining people you will ever meet (I mean, who doesn’t want to steal a bench at a wedding?). I call them “shifty” in jest and to annoy them because THEY STOLE A BENCH FROM OUR WEDDING VENUE.

We laughed, however, when they signed their names, the names of their young children, and underneath it simply said “and the bench” on the Christmas card.
And laughed and laughed some more.
We did until we didn’t.
Hold on a second!
That bench should belong to us!
That’s our bench!
That bench should appear on OUR Christmas card!

My brother, his wife, my husband, and I went out to dinner to celebrate my birthday a few months after the Christmas card. We devised a plan to avenge BenchGate 2006 over a few birthday drinks that evening. We were going to reclaim the bench! That evening! On our way home from dinner!

Under the cover of darkness, the four of us drove my brother’s pickup truck to our friend’s house and stole “our” bench right off their front porch. We laughed and yelled, “WE GOT THE BENCH BACK!” as we drove through their neighborhood, fists in the air. We were all feeling the rush! I finally realized why they stole it in the first place and began to wonder if we were doomed to a life of petty crime.

That evening marked the start of a multi-year tradition of “stealing the bench” between us and the original bench thieves.
Mike and I reclaimed the bench one year while Amy and Ted were hosting a large outdoor party. We walked into their backyard and began mingling with their guests, even having our friends make our drinks.

To be clear, we were not even invited to this party. That made us think, HEY! WE WERE NOT INVITED TO THIS PARTY!

Even more reason to steal our bench back, motherf&**ers!

The fact that everyone at this party was completely shitfaced made stealing the bench ideal. I’ll never forget the image of Mike and me hysterically laughing while carrying this bulky bench out of their backyard and down the street, holding our margaritas.

There’s nothing to see here! Just reclaiming our bench! You wouldn’t get it!

The tradition ended a few years ago when we put the bench in the basement, and now that I think about it, I’m a little sad that we ended it unfairly by putting it somewhere they couldn’t take it.
The back and forth was a lot of fun. The feeling of waking up in the morning and exclaiming, “SHIT! THEY GOT THE BENCH, MIKE. AGAIN”.

Everyone in our lives, including our children, enjoyed the bench shenanigans. We started teaching them about thievery and sneaky tactics when they were young. As parents, it was a very proud moment for us.

Maybe we’ll put the bench in the backyard tonight just for fun. Perhaps we’ll even leave the gate open.
I’m kidding.
There’s no way they’re getting that bench back.

Circa 2016

11 thoughts on “The Bench”

  1. That is a funny story. And I thought people where you live were only into cow tipping. This makes me think Coach and I need to get some new friends, because as far as we know no one stole anything from our wedding . . . wait, I almost forgot – you were there! Did you see any dodgy behavior? Do you have a Chicago Athletic Club napkin stuffed away in some drawer somewhere? That place does not exist anymore, did you know? Anyway, looks like today and tomorrow will be a nice days to sit out and enjoy your bench.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this story so much! Thanks for the late morning laugh. I have a feeling your bench is going to go missing again…”Amy and Ted’s Excellent Adventures.”


    Liked by 1 person

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