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I walked into the garden today and discovered, to my horror, that two of my birch reindeer decorations have been beheaded. They were, at one time, strictly Christmas decos. But when my garage no longer had storage space, they were relegated to the garden on a permanent basis. Over the past two years, nature has had her way with them. First the antlers fell off every time we had a windstorm. Initially, I replaced them with twigs from the yard. Eventually, it became a daily task and I grew tired of keeping up the facade. So soon I had four reindeer without antlers. I didn’t want them to feel naked, so I gave them each a toque.

The tiniest reindeer (let’s call him Tiny for ease of identification) began to have joint issues…as in, in a stiff wind, his legs collapsed and he fell down. Unable to get up on his own, I became the paramedic on call. I hoisted him up and dug ever deepening holes in which to bury his hooves for support.

So I now have two headless reindeer (my version of headless horsemen) with nails sticking up where once heads were attached. It’s a virulent case of tetanus waiting to happen, should anyone dare to plod into the yard to investigate. But I won’t, since I have moved onto other garden (or Christmas) ornaments. Besides, with the recent ice storm, the reindeer appear to be frozen in place, entombed in individual ice coffins.

Which leads me to my new decoration, a metal heron. I purchased it when my old wooden heron planter was recently ravaged by neighborhood kids or wind. Hard to tell which and it matters not. The heron is deceased — except for his head (recovered from the street after it fell off the garbage truck) which peeks provocatively from the Boston fern in the living room, daring passersby to notice and take a fright. The new one is magnificent, feathers ruffled, crest held high, wings spanning six feet. The problem is, although I had planned to put it in the front yard where the wooden one had stood proudly for years, I discovered that the replacement is a bit wobbly. As in, one stiff breeze and it will be toast. So I did the only reasonable thing I could. I set it up in the middle of the family room and threw a string of green Christmas lights over it. 

“What the hell is THAT?” Gill asked when she saw it.

“Why, I should think it’s fairly obvious,” I noted.

“Perhaps I asked the wrong question,” she commented sarcastically. “I SHOULD have asked: Why in the name of all that’s holy or rational do you have a gigantic metal heron in the middle of the room? With colored lights on it?”

“Well, I had to put the lights somewhere. He was handy…but not to worry. I’ll move him to the porch when spring comes.”

“Of course, spring. The season when the herons migrate north from their wintering grounds in the south…or the family room.”

“See? I knew you’d see the logic. You don’t give yourself nearly enough credit.”