I was fascinated by weird things when I was little. The people who lived across the street from me had something in their yard that I could not understand. I would walk by Joe and Rose’s house and stop, staring at the lawn ornament. It was standing near the front walk that led to their front door. It was just standing there. I needed to know why. I asked my mom.
“Vickie, what are you talking about?…….What black man?…………….I don’t see a black man standing in Joe’s yard…………..Vickie, it is not nice to say someone is ugly………Black people are real, Vickie……Yes they are………………I am not going over to their house. I can see that there isn’t anyone standing in their yard………………..”
I gave up. My mom was worthless. Unless the lawn ornament was handing out Salem cigarettes, she wasn’t going to go over there. I decided to go over to Joe’s and ask him. He told me that it once belonged to his dad. Ok….Still didn’t give me any answers..
“Mr. Minco, why is it in your yard?……… What is it FOR?”
“Why, Vickie, it is a decoration.” Seriously, I wanted to know why someone would put something like that in their yard. I mean, it was a black man with a ring in his hand. Was it to tie your horse up to years ago? Or maybe it was for a dog’s leash. I wasn’t getting answers and it was frustrating me to no end. And that began my interest in lawn ornaments.
I know, weird, right? I rode bikes and had fun like any normal child my age, but I also had secret interests, like lawn ornaments. Some of the bird baths in the neighborhood were cool.
I wanted my mom to buy a bird bath. “Vickie, birds are dirty. They carry all kinds of diseases…..No, not the measles, Vickie……I know Aunt Elizabeth has a yellow canary……No, she didn’t die…….but that is an inside bird…….No, Vickie, I have never seen a dead bird in the yard…..Vickie, they will poop all over the yard if we had a bird bath…”
I felt like telling her that I was going to poop all over the yard if we didn’t get one. She made no sense sometimes. She always ended with a “Because I said so….”
Most bird baths were in the back yards, which posed a problem for me, because I was a rule follower, and I would never just walk into someone’s backyard to see what lawn ornaments they had back there. Or would I?
All I knew is that one day, I too, would have a bird bath in my backyard. I thought it made for a relaxing place. One thing I would NOT have, I decided, was a stupid pink flamingo. I would never fall for that. I really didn’t understand why people would put pink birds in their front yard. We didn’t have pink birds in West Virginia.
That's a lot of pink poop
I read where the factory that had cranked out over 20 million pink flamingo lawn ornaments since 1957 had gone out of business in 2006. Oh dear God, there are 20 million pink flamingo ornaments out in the world. I wonder what the factory owner thought when after he made the first ones, and received an order for 10,000 more. I just didn’t get it. But, I am sure the guy was laughing all the way to the bank. It’s like the guy who invented the Pet Rock…or mood rings….brilliant stuff.
When I was a teenager, I saw a yard that had 5 pink flamingos. I was tempted to steal one and put it in my bedroom. But, that would be wrong, so I pulled them out of the yard and laid them on their side, like they died. I don’t know why the hell I did that, but it amused me. Maybe because people shouldn’t have pink flamingos in their yard.
The most troubling lawn ornaments for me were the little munchkins, or garden gnomes as they like to call them. I think it may have all started with Snow White and the seven dwarfs ornaments.
Now, this, I did not get. Why the seven dwarfs? i think they were creepy. Why not the Oompah Loompahs? What was so special about the seven little dwarfs? Why not just put out Goldilocks and the three bears or Sleeping Beauty on the back porch next to a hammock? What were people thinking?
The seven little dwarfs manifested into the garden gnome. I bet the Travelocity CEO has one in his yard.
Many years later, I had to drive past a huge gorilla, a bear and a seal every day on the way to my house. I don’t think they were meant to be lawn ornaments. I think a carnival or circus went out of business and the guy bought them at an auction and brought them home. I wonder if he was excited? I wonder if his wife was excited? I thought he was nuts. He also had a mini golf course (three holes) on his property, so maybe he meant for them to be props for his golfing. Regardless, it looked stupid.
I mean, seriously?
One day, I noticed the guy across the street from the gorilla guy had purchased a lawn ornament for his yard. It was a huge cannon with a couple cannon balls sitting beside it. Great. Now I am driving by Gettysburg. But, it did give me an idea. I stopped on my way home one day when I saw cannon guy.
I stopped and rolled down my window. “Hey, Danny, I was thinking that maybe you should really use that cannon.” I motioned over at the menagerie of circus animals. He just laughed. I was serious.
But, the very next day, when I was driving down the road, I saw that cannon guy had moved his cannon closer to the road, and it was pointing at the gorilla. I smiled. How I wish it really worked.
I guess people just like to decorate their yards. I drive by a house where the lady routinely changes clothes on her
front porch goose. I wonder if she realizes that geese really don’t need to wear clothes. Most days it is wearing a babushka to keep the cold off of its ears (where ever they may be on a goose).
On my way to work, I decided to note the kind of lawn ornaments people have in their yards. It is a bit frightening. I saw windmills, deer, geese, a Doberman, people bending over, raccoons, and a bunch of flags. There was also a pink flamingo. Oh, this was just in one yard. Just kidding.
They say that “clothes make the man.” Well, perhaps lawn ornaments make the “house.” You are what you eat…things like that. Just sayin. If you have a pink flamingo in your yard, I wouldn’t be surprised to see dogs playing poker on black velvet hanging on a wall inside.
By the way, I did end up having a bird bath in my back yard. And I am happy to report, I had no diseases from the birds.
Not even bird flu.