Sunday, May 22, 2011

Toby Flenderson, the Scarecat

When Reed came home for a visit last week, he brought me a little sumthin-sumthin.  Mimi's armless little boy mannequin.  I had forgotten that he took it to Baylor for fun college boy pranks in the dorm.  Apparently, it spent most of the year bumping around in the trunk of his Nissan with half empty rolls of duct tape and shirts he thought were lost forever.  Now that he is beginning his sophomore year as a college man, he is letting go of the toys of his freshman "childhood."

I don't really want to donate, trash or sell the mannequin.  For more than 30 years, it has been a part of our family.  Last fall was the first time in years that Mom didn't set him out as a decoration for Baylor Homecoming.  However, he's still wearing the decorative sunflower yellow "by Beaufort of Texas" cotton jacket with the arms dangling loosely at his sides because he...uh,...has no arms.  And, either the jacket or his head have been put on  backwards.  

"Re-eeed, are you sure that you don't want to keep it to scare Bryce with now that you're going to be sharing an apartment?  Kathy and I used to LOVE to scare each other!" I implored.

"Nope!  It's all yours!" he insisted.

The next morning when Reed stumbled out of his room headed to the bathroom, the little boy - let's just call him Toby Flenderson -  fell towards him as he opened the door.  It was the perfect set up what with the "fall into the room" effect combined with Reed's customary "fall out of the room" morning stupor.  I wanted to show him just how much fun he would be missing if he left little Toby in my care.   A while later, I discovered the Tobers "hiding" in my closet behind some clothes.  When I called Reed into my room to see how calm I remained when I discovered young Master Flenderson, he re-enacted the way he THOUGHT I would react.

"Let's see...let's see..." he said mimicking my soft soprano lady-voice, "What WILL I wear today?  No, not that, it's too tight.  No, I wore that last week.  Hmmm.  Let me see..."  Working his way down the rack he pushed aside pants, robes, and my token dress until he dramatically uncovered Toby who was staring blankly at us.  "OH, MY!  What is this!  Help!  Help!  There's a strange boy in my closet!" he screamed.  Apparently my reaction to his reenactment was as much a disappointment to him as my reaction to the initial discovery had been.

Yesterday, I strolled into the alley to check on my garden.  As I rounded the corner of the fence, a flock of miscellaneous birds swooped from the garden up into nearby trees and began to curse me quite loudly.  Shaking my fist at them, I began brainstorming ways to keep those pesky birds away from my tomatoes.  "What I really need is a good old fashioned scarecrow..." I thought.  Then, came the lightbulb moment...TOBY FLENDERSON!  I stood there between the 'maters and the brussels sprouts trying to figure out how to affix the armless mannequin to the fence in a "lifelike" manner.

After several minutes of eyeing the possibilities, it occurred to me that some rapscallion might pedal down our alley, straddle Toby's little legs over the horizontal crossbar of his back, and ride off into the night.  I simply could not stand for that.  I don't really want the mannequin, but I sure don't want it to fall into the hands of some devilish child that might do God only knows what to our family heirloom.

Ambling into the backyard, I saw a stray cat streak out of our garage, scramble up the side of our fence, and then, leap out into the great beyond.  We have a neighborhood full of brazen cats that enjoy snacking on our cats' Meow Mix.  One of those confounded cats is a very territorial male who has taken it upon himself to "mark" every wall in our garage multiple times.  He has even called dubs on the freezer and the extra refrigerator.  While glaring at the streaking cat and trying my best to detect its gender when it went airborn, I had a delightful a-ha moment.

Here, kitty kitty!
Surely, Toby Flenderson will scare away stray cats.  He scares me every single time I walk out onto the porch.  

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