917. Gnomes and flamingos


The tradition surrounding garden gnomes was that they needed to be stolen. Not exactly stolen, more moved… A garden gnome should mysteriously shift position or place overnight. There should be no inkling as to the person responsible for such a deed.

Sometimes a kidnapped letter would be sent to the owner: We have your gnome. Sometimes the note was accompanied by a hint of how to get the gnome back.

Merle had three garden gnomes. She had placed them over the years in her front garden. From there they could be seen from the road side. She awaited the appearance of a thief. Being taken and moved would be the fulfilment of a gnome’s dream!

But after seven years not a single gnome had been touched. Her participation in the heavenly gnome undertaking was a comprehensive flop.

Merle tossed her gnomes in the waste bin and went to the garden centre. She bought a couple of flamingos; those pink plastic things with the long legs. At least the flamingos wouldn’t create any needless expectation.

On the first night in the front garden, they went missing.

To listen to the story being read click HERE!

33 thoughts on “917. Gnomes and flamingos

  1. Cynthia Jobin

    When we bought our first house, there were pink flamingoes on the front lawn….definitely considered tacky. So we gave them to the Community Theatre Prop Department. Ten years later pink flamingoes began appearing in some of the affluent suburbs—considered so uncool they were suddenly cool! Maybe Merle’s robbery happened during the interim when they were nearly impossible to find in the stores. Today they are an American “icon”.

    Now if I could just remember where we buried the statue of St. Joseph upside down, to intercede for us when we put that house up for sale….

    Liked by 3 people

  2. thecontentedcrafter

    I enjoyed the tradition of gnome moving – it was fun to see where they turned up. These days it’s all serious vandalism or nothing ………….. The only fun thing I’ve heard about is when the student wags pick up a parked [small] car in the middle of the night and turn it 90 degrees in it’s parking place. [I wish I knew how to make the degree sign on my keyboard.] Now that exhibits intelligent humour!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. M. L. Kappa

    We don’t have gnomes in Greece – but when I was a child we spent a week in a village in Switzerland one summer and my favourite occupation was going around the village to see everyone’s gnomes…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bruce Goodman Post author

      My cousins live at Ngongataha, and a sister lives at Ngahere, and I used to live near Ongaonga – so, as one living upside down, down under, they are strictly speaking Ngomes and Flamignos.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Sarah Angleton

    Ha! My next door neighbor is seemingly obsessed with garden statuary. He has flamingos, frogs, fish, gnomes, etc. One night the police knocked on his door because they had picked up a couple teenagers who’d been stealing yard decorations. The thieves had admitted they’d hit my neighbor’s yard and the police needed him to identify which ones were his from the full mini-van worth of the stuff they’d collected. It was all his. Every. Single. One.

    Liked by 1 person


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