My love of garden ornamentation began in the window of the Coast to Coast hardware store in the small town of Gaylord, Minnesota. It was right around the corner from the Sibley Hotel, which my Grandma owned and ran her catering business out of.
The Coast to Coast was a bastien of tchotzke, a haven of knick-knacks. In the packed front window perched a white plastic stork, a mother duck and three chicks, and the greatest of all, two pink flamingos. Long before they became kitschy, these darlings were regal. A way for the rural to elevate themselves to elite garden party status. I stared at them through the glass, with the same sickness of heart that teen girls swooned over David Cassidy.
I don’t recall exactly how they came to be mine, but they landed in our muddy Minnesota yard never to leave. One has migrated elsewhere, but one still is with me, keeping an eye on the backyard, reminding me to never take this whole garden design thing too seriously.
The stork still hangs around as well, his baby delivering days dried up. The ducks are who knows where.
The 36 year-old (or so) pink flamingo is of another breed from the flimsy Menards birds of today. He is in for the long haul.