One day in June last year, I went outside and discovered that my garden gnome was missing. I asked around, put a notice up on a community Facebook page, but he’d simply disappeared.
I hoped, at the time, that somebody was playing a prank on me and would maybe send me funny notes and pictures of my kidnapped garden ornament. Like this one time, a colleague kidnapped my flying screaming chicken that I occasionally randomly flung across the staff room in her general direction. She sent me ransom notes and eventually returned my chicken, even though it was strung up in a noose over my desk.
Sadly, no such light-hearted miracle happened with my gnome. I thought he’d fallen victim to hooligans and used for target practice in a local sand pit. Smashed on a road during some hooligans’ drunken carousing. No photos turned up of my gnome’s travels around the world, or in funny poses.
It’s silly, really, that I was and still am bothered by the taking of my gnome. But he was my garden guard. He occupied a space in my front yard, gave it kitschy character. Plus, who the hell just up and steals a person’s garden ornament?
I vowed that the next time I got an awesome garden gnome, I would fill it with concrete, or glue it to a concrete post and sink it into the ground. You see, I have great plans for acquiring more garden gnomes — specifically, novelty ones, like the awesome gnome-eating Kaiju on ThinkGeek, or the zombie gnome on the same site. They’ve introduced a line of Star Trek gnomes, too! (Thanks for the heads-up on the Redshirt gnome, Chris!)
My wonderful neighbours up the street gave me two new Seven Dwarf-style garden gnomes last week. I haven’t thief-proofed them yet. Still need to pick up the cement stuff. (No idea how to do that, really.)
But looking at my two new gnomes made me wonder what happened to Gerome, my original gnome.
And then . . . This morning, I had to walk to school because my hubby was out of town with our car. It’s coming close to Spring Clean-up, so lots of people have been putting trash and treasures out on the sidewalk for upcyclers to hunt through before the big dump trucks haul everything away to the landfill. Neighbours around the corner whom I’ve never met personally but have heard doing personal things (AHEM) through their open windows have put out various bits and pieces, including an old filing cabinet. Its drawers were piled next to it. And in one, staring up at the sky, barely catching my eye, was my gnome.
I couldn’t believe it. I stopped and stared, pointed and chortled with happiness. And while my son watched, bemused, I retrieved Gerome from his prison / eventual tomb, and I carried him to school with me.
He’s a little worse for wear since he was taken from my yard. His rake was damaged, and his paint chipped. But I told his story to my colleagues and my students, standing him on the window ledge behind my desk for the day (after washing him off) before I could bring him home again.
Thinking maybe of keeping Gerome in the back yard this time. That, or learning how to fill him with quick-dry, this weekend.
I’d still like to know what really happened to him. And what would compel someone to take him? Why would they break his rake? Should I have papered the neighbourhood, asking for his return? Why am I making such a big deal out of this? I mean, I can’t simply assume that they neighbours took it — that would be a case of circumstantial evidence. Still . . .
What are your theories? Who took Gerome, and why?