by Phil Bruckbauer

Grady Bresnahan is my cousin. He’s a high school senior that plays basketball for Central Cass. He’s good. He’s really, really good. So good, in fact, that he recently netted his 1,000th point. A thousand points? I don’t know if I’ve done one thousand of anything, to be honest. And I certainly haven’t done anything one thousand times with five people trying to stop me. By any measure, one thousand points is impressive.

But if you ask my Grandma Jeanne, Grady is the next first overall pick in the NBA draft. He dunks on Lebron James, hits threes from half court, walks on water. Grady is, by any objective measure, her favorite grandchild. My other cousin Pat Bresnahan (also a Grain Designs employee) and I are both athletes by choice and competitive by nature so this is a crown we both wished to abscond with.

Not long ago Jeanne asked us to build her and our grandpa Ellery an end table. This was our shot, our chance to outshine Grady and win grandma’s favor once and for all.

And so we worked. We chopped, nailed, glued, sanded, and stained until our fingers bled. The table was immaculate. Pine wood, with a hint of grain detail and legs to match. Don’t get me wrong, you won’t see highlights of this thing on ESPN, but if there was an end table equivalent in athletic achievement, this thing was a Jordan-esque free-throw line dunk. Tongue out and all. Take that, Grady.

Smitten as kittens, we sauntered out to Casselton to deliver the product. Heads high and hearts full, we believed we finally jockeyed our way to the top of the totem pole.

We unwrapped the table. I was as nervous as a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. But when Grandma saw the finished product, she lit up. The size? Exact. The color? Perfect. The finish? Pristine. We did it. I could almost hear “We are the Champions” playing in the background.

We sat down to revel in our newfound glory. As we chatted with grandma and grandpa, we learned that Grady scored his one thousandth point just the night before. Grandma Jeanne was there. Grady gave her the game ball. Now I remember why I didn’t play basketball: That free throw line dunk turned into a baseline face plant. Grady, once again, was victorious.

Hey Pat, any chance grandma needs an entertainment center?