Three years ago, a customer named Lorine came in to have her car worked on, and we started chatting. She told me about a great cafe inside a historic hotel in Blessing, Texas. The hotel was established in 1906 when the town of Blessing was a major train stop. She went on and on about the home cooked food, the atmosphere, the friendly people, and my mouth was watering just to hear her talk about it. Our 29th wedding was coming up and my husband and I decided that would be a fun thing to do.
So, on June 3, 2007, off we went to Blessing, Texas. For some reason, we left late, probably because of something at the shop so we didn’t pull into the parking lot until 2:05 p.m. For those of you who wonder where Blessing is, it’s not far from the coast between Victoria and Palacios, Texas. It’s really in the middle of nowhere, and it’s a very small town. We found the hotel easily, walked in, and an elderly lady wearing a large white apron said, “We just closed five minutes ago.”
By this time, we were hungry, and I was devastated. It’s our anniversary and THE PLACE we had picked to celebrate was closed. I could feel the tears welling up and big fat lump rising in my throat. This was supposed to be a blessed occasion, and I didn’t feel blessed.
What to do?
The lady was nice enough to let us look around, but we left because we were in the middle of nowhere on a Sunday with no place to eat.
Palacios was less than an hour away and it was the only city anywhere on the map. So off we headed in a stony silenc
Fortunately, we found a nice seafood restaurant and had a good meal. Then we decided as long as we were there, we might as well look around Palacios and see what there was.
Off the main road was a shop called Texas Furniture owned by Glen Barnette. When we walked into to his work shop, Sybren immediately noticed that Glen was building model airplanes, the kind Sybren used to fly in his teens. So he and Glen hit it off right away. While they’re talking up a storm like they’ve been friends for 50 years, I noticed Glen’s cabinets, tables and chairs, a model of an Australian house Glen hoped to build one day, and I remembered that we had wanted a bench for our customers to sit on outside while they were waiting for their ride
I had a paper towel in my purse, and I sketched out what we wanted. A big oak bench that could seat five, with cup holders on each end, curved legs and most important, a Texas Star centered in the back
Glen said he could do it, and it would take about a month and a half. We left a deposit and drove back to Houston, much happier than when we left Blessing.
Six weeks later, we drove back to Blessing. Got there at 11:30 a.m. We loved the meal. It was every bit as good as Lorine promised it would be. Then we headed to Palacios and picked up our beautiful anniversary bench.
When we brought it to the shop, we realized that it was too nice to set outdoors without a plan. So, for several months it sat inside one of the bays while we tried to think of how we could use it without it getting stolen, getting ruined, or being a hassle. Nothing came to us, so it just sat there gathering dust.
Then one day, one of our customers let us know that one of the two chairs inside the waiting room was broken. Someone too heavy had sat in it and bent it out of shape.
We had to have a replacement right away. We often have customers who wait and they had to have a place to sit. Then we remembered! The bench. We took out the chairs and lo and behold, the bench was a perfect fit. It was meant to be.
Sometimes, when all the customers have left and we’ve closed the shop, we’ll sit on our bench and hold hands. We now know how blessed we are.