Posted by Lorraine Bartlett

One of my newest friends on MySpace is the Roaming Gnome of Travelocity fame. Since I don't watch a lot of TV, I follow his exploits in USA Today. Yesterday, for instance, he was buried in the sand with a crab nearby. (I sometimes think that little guy gets more life experience than me!)

He's not my only gnome pal. I share my yard with three of them. They all came from the same place: Burlington, Vermont. As soon as I saw the hundreds of gnomes on a lawn just outside of town, I knew I had to have one of my very own. (I mean, I'm of English extraction. If you have even one drop of English blood in you, isn't it REQUIRED that you have a gnome in your garden?)

Gordon Gordon was our first gnome. He's made of cement and he weighs a ton. (And I'm sure he wouldn't be happy to know I've told the world this fact.) His paint faded a few years back and my husband found patio paint in small containers at the craft store and brought him back to his former glory. Sometimes hubby or I will suddenly strike Gordon's pose (sans lantern) and laugh. (Yeah, we're weird.)

Douglas Gordon was so cute, we decided we needed another gnome to keep him company in the garden. So a few years later, Douglas arrived. We usually put portulacas in his little urn (since they seem to thrive on neglect). So far he hasn't needed a paint job, but when he does, we're ready. (They had a sale on patio paint.)

StuartOur last little guy is Stuart with his little wheelbarrow. He resides in our kitty garden, where we've buried four of our beloved kitties. Stuart guards them and keeps them safe from ... well, whatever. (Leprechauns burying pots of gold?)

Of course, our guys don't live outside year round. We usually put them out after we plant the garden in early June, and they come inside (our enclosed porch) come October when the garden winds down.

So, I've had this decades love of gnomes (can't understand why my parents never had any, but my aunts do!), but what do I really know about them? I had a look on Wikipedia, which had this to say:

"A gnome is a legendary creature characterized by its very small size and subterranean free lifestyle. The word gnome is derived from the New Latin gnomus. It is often claimed to descend from the Greek gnosis, 'knowledge,' but more likely comes from genomos 'earth-dweller.' Paracelsus includes gnomes in his list of elementals, as earth elementals. He describes them as two spans high, and very taciturn."

Um...okay.

Can you have too many gnomes? Hubby is of the opinion you can, and since we have a rather small back yard, he's probably right.

And what does all this have to do with writing? Beats me. Maybe one day I'll put one in a story. Jeff does become a gardener in the next book...but it's too late to make "author alterations." And Tricia lives in a loft--no yard. Hmmm....

Guess I'll just have to enjoy them for themselves. And isn't that all I really need to do?

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