It’s official. Our household is finally complete. As of Saturday night, a garden gnome has taken up residence in our yard.
His name is Ingalls, and he hitched a ride here in a housewarming gift bag from our good friends Jim and Alyson*. Rosy of cheek and blue of eye, he’s surprisingly well-mannered for a gnome, most of whom, I understand, are rather short-tempered when it comes to dealing with big people.
He’s a little camera-shy, but with a small box of Junior Mints and a promise to let him come in to watch HGTV from time to time, I did manage to coax him out of hiding for long enough to snap this quick picture by the hostas:
Isn’t he cute? Don’t tell him I said that, though. Gnomes hate to be called “cute”. They prefer descriptors like “savage”, “mysterious”, and “ruggedly attractive in a Sam Elliott kind of way”.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. Wasn’t it just yesterday that I was shouting in the streets about gnome liberation and the evils of oppressive gardening? Well, in point of fact, it was three years ago. Three years of growing dissatisfaction and disillusionment, watching the ideal of freedom for all gnomedom repeatedly smash up against the cold brick wall of reality. Nobody in the GGLF talks about the ugly fallout of the gnome liberation movement: displaced gnomes starving in the streets, rejected by the simple woodland communities they used to call home, standing in unemployment lines (where many of them are trampled by unobservant human beings who, let’s face it, have the competitive edge when it comes to jobs hauling fifty pound bags of landscaping bark at Home Depot.)
I sensed intuitively that Ingalls didn’t want to talk about his past, but the haunted look in his eyes bespoke a life on the streets, running from stray cats and filching stale pizza crust out of the Valentino’s dumpster. If I can give just one gnome a home, a job, and all the earthworms he can eat, how can that be inconsistent with my sincere desire to build a better life for all gnomekind? After all, he’s free to come and go as he likes.
The Junior Mints are a token of solidarity.
So, the next time you come to visit us at (name of house yet to be decided), be sure to keep your eyes open for a glimpse of Ingalls among the rhodies and lilacs.
And for pity’s sake, watch where you step!
*Also in the bag was this perfectly wonderful wall plaque, which I adore. We hung it up over the entrance to the downstairs, to remind us how it all ends: