It’s a weird time in and around the Lehigh Valley area these days–two of our Olympic cyclists getting flack for wearing face masks issued by the USOC when arriving in Beijing (story); Transformers 2 was filmed at the old Bethlehem Steel plant a couple of months ago (post); and black bears keep wandering into downtown locations (story). One of the strangest stories I’ve read was in today’s paper; apparently there’s been a rash of robberies involving lawn ornaments in Palmerton.
Gnomes, ceramic frogs, and other denizens of the front yard have fallen victim to a band of alleged teen bandits who set up their booty in a tasteful display in a hidden spot in the city (see above picture). Police have been fielding calls from irate homeowners whose decorations have gone missing. However, it took one woman, Becky Everett, to solve the mystery (full story).
Angry that her 67 year-old mother’s ceramics were nicked from her home, Everett went door-to-door and plastered fliers all over town. She was intent on finding the pieces her sister had hand painted as a gift for mom, who recently survived a bout of cancer. Everett’s efforts paid off when an anonymous caller tipped Everett off to the stolen lawn ornament display just off Lehigh Street (Palmerton). Not only did Everett recover the her mother’s frog and rabbit, she also discovered another one of her mother’s items–a ceramic turtle–that they hadn’t known was missing.
Well, now Everett’s mother is keeping her lawn ornaments indoors lest they get stolen again. Oh, and she won’t put up Christmas decorations either. Hopefully, other gnome owners will be reunited with their plaster friends.
While it’s easy to get a chuckle out of this story (and it is sort of funny), there is something very offensive about having an individual come onto one’s property in the middle of the night and stealing a gnome or a bunny or a frog. I’ve heard of folks “borrowing” lawn gnomes to take ’em out for a good time. The gnome then returns home with a note and an album of pictures of the gnome’s night on the town (more info). All in good fun, right? I suppose so…although I’d be pretty angry if any of those hooligans broke my gnome.
What people don’t realize about these innocent pranks is that very real people get hurt. Taking something that doesn’t belong to you is wrong, even if you’re just “borrowing” it. Even though it’s “just” a lawn ornament, it could mean something special to the owner. I suppose it could be said that something that special shouldn’t be out in front of someone’s house where just anyone could take it.
But think of the logic of that argument–a person shouldn’t but a lawn ornament on the lawn because it could get stolen? Isn’t the very purpose of the object to decorate the lawn? If it was supposed to be in the living room, it would be called a living room ornament, not a lawn ornament.
I dream of a world where lawn ornaments can peacefully dwell on the plush grass of their owners without fear of kidnapping. It just unravels the fabric of the picket fence communities that the 1950’s were built upon. I mean, seriously, do people have so start building moats with draw bridges around their houses to protect their property and their gnomes? It’s a sad day when lawn gnomes can’t even hang out among bushes and under water fountains in the front yard anymore.