“Jeffrey, there’s an extra Saint in the yard, do you know anything about that?” I was addressing the space where he had been a moment ago, but had somehow managed to vacate without my notice. He does that a lot. Jeffrey is a lot more swift and silent than a moving body of 6’4” has any right to be.
The Saint in question was sort of a white ceramic monk, and although less than a foot in stature, it gave me the creeps. “It was a gift from the Millers, Lucia says he is the patron Saint of Gardeners. See, he has a shovel” he said moving the leaves of a Rhododendron that all but obscured the little hooded monk.
I had the feeling from the first that it was Lucia’s handiwork, as lawn ornaments and the like are very big with her. There is so much statuary and cement decor on our circle, that when we bought the house I wondered if it was necessary to make the purchase of several unwieldy items for the yard to comply with some obscure local code. As it turned out, with the few we brought, and the ones left by the previous owner we were flush with heavy and immobile crap and had only to put plants in the most obvious ones to fit in.
The fact that Lucia had placed the statue in our yard meant that I had to leave it or risk alienating our neighbor. People are altogether too touchy about matters of taste, and I have returned enough gifts to insult every one I have ever received a gift from. I have also irritated many who did not send me presents, but that is an entirely different matter.
Gift giving is a fine art, which most people do not possess. It requires attention to precisely what a person likes and dislikes and must allow for subtleties. I have two cats. This does not mean that I like anything or everything that has a cat on it. If I like a particular color, there are parameters that evade most mortals as to what shade and hue of that color I like. I do not know what makes people give me things with feathers and/or fringe or why I receive the most hair ornaments just after cutting my hair very short. Thankfully, hair grows back. (So far.)
Some people are grateful and gracefully receive and cherish every piece of junk ever handed to them, and I sadly, am not in that group. I mostly do not like everything, including a lot of things that I buy for myself that are questionable upon purchase and which grow more odious with time.
I was in the shower, thinking about not looking a gift horse in the mouth. I understand the premise to be: a horse with bad teeth or no teeth or who is so old that you are going to have to get rid of the carcass is better than no horse at all. That does not sound to me like something one should be thankful for. On the other hand, if the horse is young and sound and you don’t have to chop him up for dog food or bury him in the family plot, I suppose that would be a good thing indeed. I say forewarned is forearmed. Look the damn horse in the mouth. Have yard sales and don’t invite your friends. Regift whenever possible. Put me in your will. You may have something that I like, and if I do, I will thank you by medium.