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Gnome trouble, et al!

May 20, 2012

While sitting on my patio on a recent afternoon, I sensed that someone was watching me. When I looked toward the garden that borders one side of the flagstone, I saw it: Evil Frog

My husband had planted the ceramic critter in the garden last summer as a joke after finding it at a deceased relative’s house. The frog peered out from the hostas, with only its menacing eyes and part of its face visible.

I agreed to let the thing stay — as long as it was clear that it was meant to be tongue-in-cheek (so to speak) and that it remain mostly hidden. But now the yellow- and black-eyed beast was front and center at the edge of the garden’s stone wall. And it was truly creepy.

I don’t mean to knock lawn ornaments in general. Well, yes, I do. I have never understood the appeal of garish gnomes, concrete bunnies and plastic flamingos adorning a lawn or garden. Aren’t the natural features — the flowers, bushes and trees — in a front or back yard attractive enough? Why tart them up?

And why dot the landscape with fake animals when real ones abound? Aren’t the local rabbits, chipmunks and birds fun to watch and nice to look at? They also have the advantage of having expressions that change and limbs that move.

I realize that some people stick pink flamingos on their front lawns as an ironic or kitschy statement. “We know that plastic flamingos are uncool so we thought it would be cool to flaunt some” seems to be the rationale.

The trouble with that reasoning is that unless someone knows you well, how would they know that your lawn ornaments are meant in jest? This applies to the Evil Frog in my back yard. I may know the amphibian is a joke but a first-time visitor to my home would probably assume that I had a thing for weird-looking ceramic animals.

I can think of only one good reason to own a lawn ornament: as kidnapping bait. But the kidnappers must follow the tradition of taking your colorful duck or adorable skunk on a journey that they document with photos or videos and send to you regularly to keep you posted on the victim’s whereabouts.

Some friends did exactly that with their neighbor’s unwitting gnome. (This was long before a certain company adopted a traveling gnome as its mascot.) For months after the gnome-napping, the owners received photos of the little guy in intriguing locations around the country. The gnome would be wearing sunglasses or a cap with a local baseball team’s logo or would be next to a “Welcome to Boulder, Colorado” sign. He seemed to be having a good time.

The victim ultimately was returned to his amused owners, who now had a story to tell their grandkids and a figurine that was much more worldly than the average lawn ornament.

German garden gnome

Photo credit: Wikipedia

© Janice Leary and My Point Exactly, 2010-2017. Unauthorized use of this material, including original photographs, without written permission from this blog’s author is prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Janice Leary and My Point Exactly, with links to the original content.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Anonymous permalink
    May 21, 2012 8:08 pm

    Very funny. Shouldn’t you have a “No Smoking” sign under the elf? Incidentally, did he come with the frog?

    • May 21, 2012 9:04 pm

      Thanks! You’re so right about the “no smoking” sign. I don’t want to indirectly endorse smoking by gnomes or any other inanimate objects. Alas, Evil Frog was solo. Probably scared off the other lawn ornaments.

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