Something to Do with Garden Gnomes

I’m not sure if “Bagni” is a village or a bathhouse or what, but I think it looks like a fun place to go. Garden gnomes are one of the oddities in life I love. What are they doing in gardens? It’s like pairing combat boots with a wedding gown. Even before I saw Amalie, I had a fascination with them. I even wrote a political satire including garden gnomes that I pitched as a picture book (that didn’t go over, but the idea was great.)  It turns out I’m more of a young adult novelist. One of the things I love about life that you can’t (Or at least I haven’t successfully yet) replicate in writing are those funny random moments – those bits and scenes that seem to come out of nowhere, not fit with the mood, or maybe your schedule. Things in writing have to mean something. Wasn’t it Chekhov that told us not to put a gun on fireplace mantle if no one in the book is going to use it?

So, I guess I’m left to blog about those times. For instance, Spanky. I tweeted about him not long ago. He’s an old guy that works on the second floor of our building. I’m on the third floor. Every day, I go down to the terrace to get the mail, so I often see the old man, with his false teeth smile and idle chit chat. We have time for a greeting and about one sentence, normally something to with what I’m wearing or the weather. One time he said it looked nice outside (Truly an amazing thing in March in Ann Arbor). I said, “I heard it’s going to rain.” He gasped and said, “No! If it rains, I’m going to spank you.” Hence, his nickname.

There’s another lady in the building, middle-aged, calm, and friendly. This is particularly interesting to me because it’s been my experience that many middle-aged women in the business world are the exact opposite. Perhaps this makes me an ageist and/or a sexist; I’m not sure, but it’s what I’ve observed. So this lady and I were walking out of the building at the same time once when we both spotted a post-it note on the ground. She took the lead and picked it up. It said nothing of significance. She gave me an “Is it yours?” gesture. I shrugged and shook my head. She tossed it back onto the cement. There was a pause. She looked back at me and said, “I really don’t know why I did that.” We both chuckled. But then she kept going. I didn’t know what to do. Pick it up and throw it away? Leave it? It was weird. That’s all: just a weird little snippet of life that doesn’t really fit anywhere, except to amuse me.

What about you all? Are there any moments you remember like this that amuse you? Or moments you’ve tried to put in books that just didn’t work?

Published by jody sparks

Jody Sparks Mugele spent her first career in marketing writing and leading teams of writers and editors. After her son came out as transgender in 2015, she dedicated herself to advocating for the rights of the LGBTQ+ community. For two years, she led the Indianapolis regional chapter of PFLAG, a nationally renowned LGBTQ+ advocacy group. She has given many conference talks about parenting trans kids, healthcare in the trans community, and suicidality among LGBTQ+ youth. And with GenderNexus, an Indianapolis-based advocacy organization, she created programming and led support groups to work with parents to help their children through all aspects of gender transition. She recently moved to Northeast Georgia where she is excited to develop opportunities to continue to strongly and proudly advocate for LGBTQ+ members of our society. She also LOVES kitschy Christmas crafting!

19 thoughts on “Something to Do with Garden Gnomes

  1. Maybe leaving the post it will give someone else a blog post. 🙂 Bizarre people in this place… perhaps its the decor. Bizarro world.

  2. Hi Jody, just found your site. It has a really calm and welcoming feel. I love sparks and butterflies myself. Can you tell me if Upstart Crow publishes any poetry? Good to find you. Peace…Holly.

  3. I agree there are those funny and strange moments, that we giggle and sometimes laugh about and if someone isn’t there it just doesn’t hold the same humor. One day we are leaving the house, I am following a child much taller and larger than me. I begin to notice he seems stuck, like he can’t walk, his leg won’t move. I realize I am standing on his untied shoelace and before thinking of the consequence I lift my foot off the lace. This frees his leg and it moves very swiftly, he goes to the ground. I ask trying not to laugh “are you ok?” The thing is I laughed about that the rest of the day.

  4. I am trying to imagine your face when the words, “If it rains, I’m going to spank you,” came out of his mouth. Horror-struck? Amused? Creeped out? All of the above. I can’t stop snickering. Also, I wonder if there’s any possibility you misheard him?? Like perhaps this threat of spanking is what your brain made of whatever he actually said. Maybe he said, “Oh no! If it rains, I’m going to be cranky.” I wish you’d said, “Pardon ME?” and made him repeat it! LOL.

    You’re awesome, btw. 🙂 (Just thought I’d throw that in there for an otherwise bland Tuesday…)

    1. Tammara, I would have loved to have seen my look, too! Cranky Spanky. He could definitely have said cranky. Oh, and it did rain. And I was never spanked. Don’t tell Spanky.

      (And you are also, way up on the Awesome list!)

  5. It’s the little moments in life that leave me gasping for breath as I laugh and laugh and hold my sides. I can imagine your expression as you realized he was serious. Interesting blog. Thanks for sharing what many of us experience. Love and laughter.

  6. Sometimes it’s a simple as seeing a car covered in gold lettered Jesus slogans followed by a hearse.

  7. The most surprising Garden Gnomes I ever saw were in the Cinque Terre region of Italy, in the tiny town of Vernazza. For some reason, many people in Vernazza are fascinated by the Disney characters from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

    Everywhere I went, I saw little ceramic 5″ to 10″ tall versions of the Seven Dwarfs – in gardens, on window sills, on porches, and in trees. I wish I knew why!

  8. hmm… I’m a “middle-aged” lady and would like to think of myself as calm and friendly…lol!! (Might have to ask other people though…lol!) Lovely blog, lovely read. Keep up the good work!

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