There are new gnomes in my garden.
Last Christmas, 2011, we spent some time in NJ after a visit to Disney World. Somehow, I knew, well, always thought perhaps, that any Christmas could be Dad's last. He didn't look very good, was not very strong, and just was not himself. But one thing he always liked to talk about was his wood work. He would cut figures out of wood and paint them, and he loved doing it.
As we talked he discovered I liked gnomes, and he told me he had made a bunch of wooden gnome figures. I wanted to see them, but they were in the back shed, and it was too cold. He was not going out much in those days.
Fast forward to August of 2012, and dad was gone. The sadness still grips my heart. He left many unfinished projects on his desk in the basement. According to mom he had not done much wood work towards the end, his mobility and breathing being too difficult.
In the afternoon before his funeral, we went out to the back shed. There lining the shelves were paper grocery bags, full of wooden figures, each labeled with the contents. We easily found the gnomes, all eight of them. Mom of course said I could have the gnomes, and Mr. AC kindly carried them back in his suitcase.
They needed a little work. The bases were not painted, one of them did not have a base, and one base was a bit broken from a misplaced screw. It took me a while to get to all this, but finally, all bases were fixed and painted, a coat of polyurethane to protect against the elements, and they were set out to dry in the sun.
They now have a new home in my back yard. They of course needed names. I decided to name them after dad, starting with the first letters of his name. There is Finley with his flowerpot, Ringbetter leaning against his mushroom for a smoke.
Ampford has his clippers ready to trim the verge, and Netwingle is equipped to dig in the garden.
Koindexter is a small gnome with a surprised expression.
Vinchester is taking a snooze in his wheel barrow.
Dandlebob was named for his weed-pulling activity,
and Jokenjester for the endless jokes endured by all who knew him.