September 24, 2015
When I left the workforce over 13 years ago, I needed a hobby. I discovered the world of genealogy and delving into the old family tree lead to some very interesting branches. But I felt the need to dive into other things. I read up on how to make a candle and before I knew it, I mastered it and was cranking them out faster than I could order new supplies. Our neighbor across the street from us at our old house, a retired meat cutter, was obsessed with wood. Every morning he drove a good 10 miles from our homes to a Lumber yard where they would give him all the wood he wanted. He did this everyday, and every afternoon he would be in his garage with this massive machine that would cut all the different types and sizes of lumber he acquired. He built a shed (looked more like a spare garage) in his backyard and had the wood arranged on shelving that rivaled Home Depot’s lumber department. One day it got out that I wanted to learn how to make my own country wood crafts… doing it all on my own. He suggested a machine for me and Dennis and I went out and bought my very own scroll saw. Our neighbor then would tell me to come over and pick out any pieces of wood that I wanted from him, which I gladly proceeded to do. I always liked to doodle and now my doodles were drawn freehand on the wood I had hauled across the street from his house. (If I only had the ambition and drive back in high school art classes. Where was this hidden talent back then?)
One Fall day back in 2004 I decided to expand my creativity to more than a small creation I was used to making. I needed to craft something for our front porch. Something that shouted out “Autumn.” I made a 4 foot tall scarecrow, done in sections. I drew out a head, chest, arms and hands, then legs. I cut very carefully each piece, sanded each piece, meticulously painted all portions, added embellishments, screwed the body parts together, lacquered it, and put on the finishing touches. After that endeavor, I decided Christmas was right around the corner and set out to work on a tall Santa Claus for the porch as well.
Now, our old house had a large covered front porch with our living room in the front of the house, overlooking the porch. In our living room, we had a large mirror on a wall that reflected to show if anyone was at our door. One night, we were watching TV with all the lights on and Dennis and I (and I believe Kimmi was there too) noticed what looked like someone bending down near our door and then were gone. In the background we could hear a car engine running. We got up, looked out the window and opened the front door, and at the bottom of our RV driveway, was a person sprinting down into a compact car and hightailing it out of there. It was only then did we notice that my newly made, 4 foot tall Santa Claus was gone! These brazen bandits took my handmade decoration right off our porch at 7:00 in the evening. I was so saddened by this and was determined to make another one. So I began my project and worked on it for the next several days. Only this time, I drove myself to Home Depot, went to the area where they sell chains and bought a 6 foot link of heavy chain, something you find wrapped around gates on school grounds. (Nothing screams Happy Holidays when you look like you’re keeping out street bandits. Or not.) I installed a thick hook on the back of Santa (and also on my Scarecrow for the next Fall season) and chained my handiwork to a heavy wrought iron porch chair we had on the porch. Ho-Ho-Ho.
My next thoughts were along the lines of ‘should we surround our property with razor wire?’ because I really felt violated. Each night that Kimmi and I and our beloved Corgi went on our nightly vigil of looking at pretty Christmas lights on all the houses in our tract, I kept my eyes peeled for my porch standing Santa. I never saw him. He was probably on someone else’s porch in another part of the Las Vegas Valley or, God forbid…..on Craigslist.
When we moved to this house over six years ago, I chained my new Santa and my Scarecrow on our new porch, wrapped with chain to the same wrought iron chair.
I think back to the brazenness of those street marauders who took my Santa all those years ago and I can only reason to myself that they must have needed it more than me.