I cannot believe I am going to tell this story, but it’s been on my mind lately because my favorite summer pleasure this year is our new hammock which is actually a hammock that we’ve had for seven years and finally just put up this year. I like to read on it when baby’s napping (although I really can only manage to do that on a weekend afternoon when my work work is done, and it is not too stifling hot. So it’s happened twice so far. But I really like the idea of it, okay?) and it will soon have a nestled spot in the family garden. But that’s not the story. Here’s the story:
Back when BF and I got married, we were especially on a tight budget. It was the 2002 recession; BF was in a commission based sales job and nothing was selling so we lived on my college administrator salary (which is to say nothing). True story: we would pool our change together until we had enough to go buy 2 McDonald’s ice cream cones. That happened about twice a month and that was our big treat, driving home the long way after we stopped at the McDonald’s, enjoying our splurge. I guess that story is our “we walked 7 miles to school uphill each way in the snow” tale that baby will hate hearing when he is 15 and we’re invoking a “be grateful” air. Especially when I say that this one time (for real, I swear), we found that last dime we needed for our cones in the couch cushions and both cheered up and down over the excitement of it.
Alright, back to the story at hand. We were on an especially tight budget and yet would come home in those weeks after the wedding to gifts on the front porch that had arrived in that day’s mail. Sometimes there were pots and pans; sometimes there were towels; and this one day there was a hammock box.
I was thrilled to receive a hammock. I grew up with one in our backyard and read in it for hours. I had lived in Brazil a couple summers before and our hammocks were our beds– even (or especially) when we lived on a boat for a week in very tight quarters (we hung our hammocks like bunk beds– one high and one low and then alternated who was in the high one the next night because we were on the open deck of the boat on the Amazon in the middle of the rainforest and it would monsoon on us each night). So hammocks are nostalgic for me, too. I promptly wrote a very grateful thank you note for the hammock and asked BF when we could hang it. He wasn’t as excited about the hammock as I was and so it went on a shelf in the garage, unopened. A few days later, a couple more hammocks from the same company arrived. Seriously, three different people gave us the same hammock? I went to write thank you notes for those hammocks but found that they came without notes. As we were assessing where to store wedding gifts, etc, we came upon the three boxes of hammocks. Hmm, maybe we should return one for a refund, we thought, since we were so tight on money. And maybe we should give this second one to friends who were just getting married (tacky, yes, but we were broke, and it was nicer than the $20 fork we could afford). Done. Two boxes headed out the door and the third unopened hammock stayed on our garage shelf. Eventually, that hammock moved with us to the little cottage that could. And stayed in the box in the garage. Until this summer when I just couldn’t take it anymore. I needed my hammock. The evolving garden was the perfect spot for it, and so I asked BF to help me put together the hammock and its stand. BF relented and told me he would unpack all the supplies and then come get me to help put the stand together.
A few minutes later, BF walked in the house.
“I don’t know what to tell you. There’s only a hammock in that box.”
And then, slowly, as we both stood out in the back yard staring at the solitary little hammock without a frame, it occurred to us what happened.
Those three boxes weren’t three different hammocks. They were the different parts of the whole set up. It seems that we gave someone half a hammock stand for their wedding gift.
The worst part? BF and I cannot for our lives remember who we gave this gift to which must signify that this mystery couple is no longer in our lives. Could it be because we gave them 1/2 a hammock stand for their wedding?