Maybe it was Amelie.
Maybe it was southern summer nights.
Maybe it was me. Maybe it was you. But I sure love gno-omes.
Garden gnomes in animated films? Meh.
But real, serious, ceramic, wood or even resin garden gnomes. I love em. I’ve gotta have em in my life. But they have to be right. They have to be perfect. In short – I have only ever owned two gnomes. And not for lack of trying. I’ve tried to meet a good gnome everywhere. I’ve even considered looking for a match online. Maybe you found your gnome online and I don’t judge you. Lots of people do these days but I wanted to meet him face to face.
My first gnome came into my life my freshman year of college. My sister Meg introduced him as a birthday present and he lounged around my dorm and eventually, after Dan and I got married, he was relocated outdoors, where his sunbathing days have turned his blue towel teal and his red suit pink. He’s not the gnome he once was.
So, for three years, I’ve been looking for a replacement or at the very least, a better-looking younger friend. Gnome 1 was no longer front porch material.
So every gift shop, garden department, and outdoor statuary store I visit, I get right up close to the gnomes, look into their eyes and try to sense a connection. Nothing. Frequently I spot the problem from several feet away. They’re standing or sitting awkwardly or doing a random activity like mixed martial arts or shooting craps or something and I think, I like my gnomes meek and sans gambling addiction.
Either that or I look into their eyes and they’re either painted on lopsided, or they are dead soulless voids. I like my gnomes mischievous, but just mischievous enough, not too much. More David Tennant than Martin Short.
So three weeks ago, I found him. At Fred Meyer in Kirkland, the gnome I’d been looking for peeked up from the book he was reading and screamed, “TAKE ME HOME!”
So I did.
And I loved him. Past tense.
Because on Monday, as I was pulling into my long driveway at a probably legal, but possibly irresponsible speed, I almost hit a deer. I gave the deer a verbal fist shake. Most people hit deer on the highway. Can you imagine the sheer volume of moronity points I would earn for totaling my car in a deer collision… on my driveway? Of course I was enraged at the deer and all of his stupid friends. They poop on my lawn, nibble my fruit trees, terrorize my slugs, and eat the onions out of my ghetto swimming-pool-full-of-dirt garden, onions that were only planted because they’re supposed to be deer repellent.
I was trying to regulate my near-miss rise in blood pressure by listing Bambi’s many flaws and misdeeds when I noticed a big pile of junk scattered across my front walk. What could it be?
I got out of the car and walked closer.
My brand new, highly literate, maxed-out-my-entire-yearly-gnome-budget GNOME WAS OBLITERATED. And the delinquent deer showed no remorse, no respect.
I went off on those deer with the vengeance of a woman de-gnomed. Wanda was confused.
“Why are you mad at the deers?” She asked sweetly.
“They destroyed my dad gum ratchin’ fratchin’ gnome!”
“Nope. That was Magoo.”
“What?! No. Magoo would never do that to me. It was the deer. If Magoo had pipe-bombed my garden gnome, he would have had the decency to apologize. He would never have just left him there… like that.”
“I saw him. It was Magoo.”
“Oh, yeah? When did he do it?”
“Ummm… 8 o’clock,” she replied.
No way. No way Magoo would play me like that. Not my own flesh and blood.
So, I spent the afternoon searching the area around the porch for gnome shards and super-gluing them back together. He’s still missing chunks.
When Magoo got home, he admitted to knocking over the gnome and then walking away, like a cool guy from an explosion. What the hay?
I talked to Dan. He had watched Magoo lay waste to my dearest garden figurine friend and also walked away.
“But you could have called. Or texted. All day long, you were at work, knowing my beloved gnome was destroyed, knowing, I would come home and with no warning find a pile of gnome shards on my front porch, like a warning from The Garden Mafia. All day long you knew and you didn’t bother to warn me?”
“We were late. I’m sorry. I forgot.”
Seeing as we have no more gnome budget for the year and seeing as I love Magoo and Daniel more than I love a resin garden creature, I have chosen to forgive, but I send this plea out into the universe – FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS DECENT IN HUMANITY, IF YOU DETONATE SOMEONE’S GNOME ON YOUR WAY OUT THE DOOR TO PIANO LESSONS, COVER THE BODY OR AT THE VERY LEAST, SEND A TEXT OF CONFESSION.
Consider this a public service announcement. May no one ever. EVER. Come home to gnome shards again. You can make a difference. Be the change.