Saturday, September 17, 2016

The Story Continues

As it always does in every case, the story continues. Clouds pass over the sun, then the sun comes out again, then there’s more rain, et cetera, et cetera. Day to night, night to day.

I never really believed our knusperhexe would be back, and as the days go on, the likelihood and my hope dwindles even more. Posting signs promising a $250 reward for its return was less about its actual return and more about helping me feel as if I’d “done all I could.”

I’m still upset, and there are still times I wake up in the early morning hours, and the vision of our gnome pops into my head. I open my eyes, look around the room, trying to picture something, anything else. I’m still sometimes resorting to wordy eighteenth-century literary classics to try to get back to sleep.

At the end of my last post, I wrote that I was open to acquiring a new “house gnome,” and I wasn’t joking. A few days after writing it, I got on eBay and bought a “vintage concrete garden gnome” that had supposedly stood in some elderly lady’s yard in Ohio forever. Supposedly it had been bought at an estate sale. (With our experience, we have to wonder if any of the purported provenances of vintage items for sale can be believed. But whatever.)

I didn’t tell Sue I’d made the purchase. I felt kind of silly about it. But there you go—about a week later it arrived on our doorstep, double-boxed, and while Sue was taking a shower or something, I unpacked it in the basement and carried it into the living room and sat it on the floor. He just sat there, smiling placidly, taking in his new surroundings.

When Sue saw it, she was speechless—“Where’d that come from?” I told her I found it on the doorstep—“It was just there . . .” I thought about trying to make it seem like some kind of anonymous gift. Maybe from someone who felt sorry for our loss. But I couldn’t lie to her. I told her I’d gotten it from eBay.

Sue had been looking on eBay, too—she hadn’t seen this one because I’d purchased it before she’d started looking. The same seller had some other vintage concrete mini-statues for sale—all apparently from the same elderly lady’s estate sale. After some deliberation and discussion, Sue and I decided to get the other gnome that the guy was selling—apparently from the same yard, we thought maybe they were kind of a “set,” and (romantic thinkers that we are—don’t tell anyone) we thought they should “stay together.” So Sue purchased the second gnome.

The one I bought looked the most like our old one, posture-wise, though the way his beard’s painted he looks like a Mennonite or Amish man. He’s got a curious little hole in his right hand, as if something had once been stuck in it.

What’s your guess? Was he holding a fishing pole? A little flag? A beer stein? . . . I’m thinking beer stein, most likely . . .

And his left hand seems to be holding—what is that? Is it a seashell?

The one Sue bought is crouching over an open book. And he’s got a few mushrooms down by his feet. That’s a nice touch. (Maybe he’s reading a field guide to mushrooms!)

So, they’re “Social” and “Cerebral”; “Extrovert” and “Introvert.” They are kind of a pair, aren’t they.

The one reading the book, however, arrived damaged—the point of his little hat had broken off in the box. So . . . we’ll have to do some concrete repair. As you can see.

And they are quite worn. We’ve been debating how much restoration to do—I’m thinking to hell with the idea of retaining the maybe-vintage patina/crappy old paint jobs; let’s fix them up good and get a nice new protective layer of paint on them—so I guess we’ll sand off most of the paint, fill in all the cracks and chips, rebuild corners that were broken off, sand them again to make them smooth, and when we repaint—repaint how?

All the garden gnomes I recall from old people’s houses, from when I was a kid, had been painted white. (Like ours had been.) Maybe that’s the way to go, instead of trying to color in all their facial features, hair, and clothing. Just have them be a statuesque white. What do you think?

And are we silly to care so much about this? Silly to toss away a couple hundred bucks on eBay and shipping for two garden gno—wait, because they’re ours now, they are knusperhexes—and then spend hours restoring them?

Eh! Whatever. It makes a difference to me.