Sunday, September 9, 2012


What's the tackiest piece of lawn art you've ever seen?  I'm not talking plastic flamingos or pointy hatted gnomes, they are mere child's play.  Close your eyes and picture the most heinous yard decor you've ever sneered at... and then open your eyes.  Because it's time to meet Mabel.

Yes friend, these 200 pounds of buxom concrete hold the place of honor in my Poppop's yard up in Maine.  He bought her several years ago on the side of the highway, justifying his splurge as "an investment in fine aht".  From anyone else, the implicit humor in that statement would be obvious, but coming from Poppop you can't be too sure.

Placing Mabel in the center of his yard lets Poppop bask in her corpulent beauty while simultaneously spiting the neighbors who groans objections to this intruder on their pastoral stretch of New England seacoast.  Spray painting her metallic gold was his own artistic addition, the perfect Midas touch to his treasure. 

Recently I made the trip up to Maine and was joined by a good friend.   I warned her in advance of Poppop's quirks, so if he started lecturing her about the perils of women's lib or quizzed her on why she wasn't yet married she would be ready.  But to his credit, Poppop was the soul of charm, with his Christopher Plummer-esque mustache freshly trimmed and wearing the nicest of his flannel shirts.

After showing us the house, discussing his carpentry projects, and nodding to his perpetual piles of wood chips and dirt, he led us to Mabel's side of the yard.  Clearly he had saved the best for last.

One arm around my friend's shoulders, he proudly gestured in a sweeping motion with his free hand:

"Ya may not know this ahbout me, but I am a connisseuh ah fine aht.  And THIS is Mabel.  Ain't she ah lookah!"  He proceeded to enumerate her fine features to my politely shocked friend, pointing out  "huh lil' tongue, that nice mink stole, ah gahtah belt, beauty mahk, an even wearin' high heels!".

The best moment of his monologue was as he slowly bent down and began lovingly sweeping bits of twigs and leaves out of her enormous concrete rack, turning to my friend and in a very serious voice telling her "it's not easy keepin' huh cleavage clean!"

True, Poppop, it doesn't look easy.  Aging doesn't look easy.  Living alone doesn't look easy.  Which is why I'm glad Mabel's keeping an eye on things.  Or rather that he's keeping an eye on her.  Keeping those statue boobs clear of debris is one of those little tasks that, when all added up, make a day fuller and life more lively.  Someday I hope to inherit Mabel.  I will put her in my front yard and lovingly keep her boobalicious bird bath rack clean of twigs and leaves.  Just like my Poppop.