Da Bears!

A couple of years ago I was visiting my parents in an anonymous midwestern city. They had a house in a new suburb, most of the lawns in the neighborhood still clearly showed the sod stripes, several of the houses were still under construction.

But neighbor #1 was different. His lawn was lush and green, and trimmed perfectly. His shrubs were neatly manicured. And he had lawn ornaments. You know, plastic deer (like the real ones that occasionally roamed the neighborhood weren't enough), assorted other ornaments, and, beside his house, plywood cut-outs of three bears, two down on all fours behind the third one, which was standing as if it were preparing to climb a drain pipe.

My youngest sister, juvenile delinquent she was (how do you know that type's always going turn out a teacher?) went out with a friend one night and rearranged two of the bears into the obvious alternative configuration (one standing up, one bending over; you figure it out). Much to the amusement of the neighbors who took their lawns less seriously.

So I was out there visiting, my Dad and I were wandering around wondering how we could spend the afternoon, and we were talking to neighbor #2, and got to discussing lawns, and bears, and neighbor #2 said "Ya know, if I had an afternoon free I'd go into the shop and build one of those little windmill thingies..."

No sooner said... We ran back to the house, sketched out some shapes on a chunk of masonite, bent some wire into the appropriate shape, glued the whole thing together, and snuck back under the cover of darkness and staked this contraption firmly in the yard of neighbor #2.

Anyway, it eventually ended up in my hands, and I keep it as a memento of what members of a family, working together, can accomplish. Alas, my current house doesn't have a yard to stake it in (thus the lousy pictures from behind my house), but I keep it for the day when I've got a nice large lawn in an upscale neighborhood...

source images for the animated GIF: 0 | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Dan Lyke , Fairfax, California. September 28, 1998