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April 27, 2003: Drive-by lawn art

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While we were at the hardware store today, pondering the merits of brick versus stone to be used in building the raised flower beds in the backyard, I paused before a shelf of assorted lawn art and eyed the selection. This is because amid the usual collection of plaster deer, mushrooms, and fish, lurked a small handful of lawn gnomes.

I looked at Richard. He looked at me. And for a very brief moment, we gave careful consideration to whether or not my parents needed to join the lawn gnome club. Much to my parents’ and sisters’ extreme joy, I am sure, we decided that perhaps some things should simply be kept within Richard's family. Thus, no lawn gnomes for the Jennifer side of the clan.


It was a few weeks ago that Richard and I, pausing just outside my parents’ front door, agreed that they needed a little lawn toad just like ours (pictured here with Gnigel the gnome).

Conveniently enough, we had purchased our warty little grey toad at that exact hardware store! It had to be fate! We picked out a likely candidate for our nefarious plans, paid for him (and a book on landscaping with stone – see earlier comment about raised garden beds), and then Richard drove us home, while I held the toad on my lap and occasionally made him dance around, just to see if I could get Richard to laugh (it worked).

The plan was to drive by my parents’ house and deposit the toad somewhere in their yard that would be visible enough for them to see him. Eventually. But as we cruised past their house, we noticed a car out front, and decided that a drive-by toading was a bit too risky at that particular time.

So imagine our great amusement when we pulled into our own driveway a few minutes later to discover that our lawn had been the victim of a drive-by flamingo incident! There, stuck into the grass in plain view, was a pink flamingo, standing a few feet high.

It wasn’t too hard to figure out who was responsible. After we moved the flamingo to a 'safe' location (because while I'm sure we can find a lovely spot for it once the back yard is complete, for now it has to live on the back porch), I called my parents. At first they tried to pretend they knew nothing about it, but eventually broke down and admitted to the prank.

This is where it started getting fun. First of all I noted that we had no intention of buying anything to retaliate (since, of course, the toad had already been purchased). Then we made plans to meet for dinner. With a bit of clever timing, we arranged to be a few minutes late to the restaurant – just late enough for us to cruise past their house (assured that they had already left) so I could dash up the driveway, plop the toad down on the corner near the sidewalk, and leap back into the car - all coordinated so that at dinner we could truthfully say that we were not planning anything in response to the flamingo, because of course the drive-by toading had already been done.

So far there has been no response, leaving me to believe that the toad has not yet been discovered. But I have faith that he will eventually be spotted.

There are more toads at that hardware store; more silly little grey and warty toads just waiting for homes. And I have two sisters who currently are toadless. Granted one lives in Washington and it might be a bit more difficult to arrange a drive-by toading for her. But we are determined. There will be toads. Oh yes.

After all, they should at least be grateful that it isn’t lawn gnomes.

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