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Bobby Bass

Thinking of Barney

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July 7th

"WHY DON’T YOU just go down and see Big Earl at the General Store and buy a new one?" That is what the wife said to me as she stood in the doorway of the wood shop. On the center table I had the old wood and metal bench that spends three hundred and sixty-five days of the year on the shore here on the hidden bay of Lake Iwanttobethere. Earlier in the day I had driven the garden tractor down to the shoreline and picking up the bench I had balanced it on the hood of the tractor with one hand as I drove with the other. Once I got it to the wood shop I carried it inside and put it up on the cleared center work table. It needed work.


I don’t remember when we got it or where it came from I do remember that Barney like to sit on it when he was a pup till he discovered the dock and fish. From ice off till ice back on everyday Barney would spend some time sitting on the end of the dock, staring into the water and watching little fish and big fish. Keeping ducks off the dock and daring the geese to even try and come up on his shore. Even for a big dog Barney sat tall and if you did not know he was a real dog and not some statue on the end of the dock he startled more then his fair share of fishermen when they came close. I spent time sitting on the dock with Barney but I also spent time sitting on the old bench watching Barney watch.


The old bench looked even worse now that I had it inside and out of the grass. The metal sides that held the wood slats were rusted and I was missing a board. Several other boards were rotting away and it was probably a good idea I had brought the bench to the shop before someone sat on it and broke the boards and rolled into the lake. The wife shook her head at me and I poked and prodded some. I spoke out load that she may be right, might be better off just to go buy a new one and toss this one in the burn pile. The wife turned and walked away and I sat on my stool looking at the old bench. To many layers of green paint to count on it and more rust then black paint on the metal. I don’t even know what kind of wood was used on the back and seat. Some kind of imported hard wood I guessed.


I had a scrapper close to hand and I picked it up and picked at a few flakes of paint. I got to thinking about Barney and how when I sat on the bench and watched him at sunset it was the perfect picture that I never had time to take. Never wanted to get up and lose the moment getting a camera so I would just watch him watching. After a while I started tossing a bobber off the dock with a sucker under it, figured if Barney was going to just sit there and watch I might as well give him something to watch. Little did I know that he became a pretty good fishermen and it got so I could tell by his barks if I was getting a nibble or if something was running with the bait. He even started watching Elmer’s bobber too on the next dock over.

I kept picking away at the peeling paint and I made a decision. I was going to fix the bench and put it back out on the shore, right where I can watch Barney at sunset. Something’s should be fixed and not just tossed away because they are broke and cheaper to replace. Something’s have memories that need to be saved. To someone floating past the shoreline it will just be an old bench sitting in the deep grass looking out over the lake but to me it is a place to keep watching Barney and sunsets here at Lake Iwanttobethere

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