Protection From Demons

Oops, sorry!  That title should read Protection, From Demons.  When the glaciers marched into and out of this region ages ago, they dug up and left behind a lot of stone.  This is one of the most geologically varied areas in the world.  When we moved here, I hired a separate van to move 3000 pounds of rocks that we’d obtained over the years, to be used for landscaping and garden accents, quartz, marble, sandstone, agate and shale, often with fossils in it.

Over the years, we have also purchased a variety of garden figures.  Not silly little gnomes, these guys have some character, like the characters who own them.

Igor 2       Igor

This is Igor.  He came to us blind, because he had one eye closed, and the other one missing.  We provided him with a blood-red marble to see with.  He spent years beneath the wife’s magnolia bush, which didn’t do well in sandy soil near the river, when we lived on the other side of town, but has grown and branched and bloomed in the clay-ey soil here.

a New Magnolia

The first photo shows the small, but blooming plant 15 years ago, before we moved.

Bare Magnolia TreeThe next shot is the same shrub, transplanted, after we moved, 12 years ago.  Not much more than a stick, we didn’t hold much hope for it.  You can see a couple of the accent stones we brought along.

 

Magnolia [2] 2009The blooming shot is from five years ago.  It blooms in the spring before it leafs out.  The last pic is from the same spot as shot number 2, giving some idea of how it continues to grow.  It’s a shrub magnolia, not the tree variety, but 14/15 feet tall.  We get some re-blooming, especially on the sunny top, mid-July/Aug.

Magnolia 1, 2013

 

Igor bade goodbye to years of Halloween trick-or-treaters.  He’s an anorexic 7.5 pounds of fibreglass and resin, easily talked into walking down the street with a teenager, like a three-pound pottery angel which disappeared off a flower table on the front porch.  Or maybe she was just embarrassed by the company she was forced to keep, and flew away.

Goliath [1]Goliath

When we had the chance to adopt Goliath, we gave him a Moonstone evil-eye – and Igor’s spot under the magnolia.  Goliath is 75 pounds of pure concrete, promising a hernia or broken foot to any potential thief.  Igor moved to the back deck.

Go Away

Go Away (front)

Back on the deck, he moved in with “Go Away”, my personal mascot.  I was going to use his photo as my gravatar, but decided on something a little more welcoming.  There are (un)welcome mats which also read Go Away, but it’s cheaper just to ignore the doorbell.  Back beside Go Away, is the wife’s final word to her flowers, “Grow Dammit”.  Seems to be working.

GrowDamnIt

They are watched over by Winged Victory, who can’t fly off the fencepost because of a six-inch spike up his little fiberglass ass.  He was the painted display model and the last of his discontinued line that we brought home from a Mediaeval Faire.  He is a grotesque, because only waterspouts are correctly named gargoyles.

Fence Boy [1]Winged Victory

Continuing in the son’s hear-no-evil, etc. theme, are the matched set of concrete goblins which he purchased.  I managed to set them out in the correct order.  The child whose head is full of even more useless trivia than mine, says their Japanese names are Mizaru, Mazaru, and Mikazaru.  Some sets include, “Do No Evil”, with the hands over his crotch.  As well, there’s the vertical, resin, green and white frog-set version.  He has others, indoors.

See No, Hear No, Speech No 1 Froggies

Back around at the front, keeping intruders out of the washroom window are two of three concrete goblin-lions.  They’ve been out there 24/7/365 since we bought them.  Sadly, the third must have had a crack, and this spring, freezing split it into three unequal pieces.  For backup, they hang out with a demented Sesame Street-like character the grandson formed in pottery class in grade eight.

                          Window Sill Grotesques [2]

If anyone manages to get through the window, without upsetting the goblins, or our cats, they are not welcomed inside by Hellboy’s younger brother, Redboy.

Red BoyLurking near the door, waiting to trip up unsuspecting Jehovah’s Witnesses, kids selling school chocolate, and other ne’er-do-wells, is The Thinker, looking like he just climbed down off an Aztec sacrificial pyramid after ingesting a bit too much peyote, and thinking about who he’ll have for lunch.

Porch Thinker [1]Thinker

Providing a stumbling block in front of a three-tier brass plant-stand and the aforementioned plant table, at the end of the porch, is Todd The Toad.  While not much for rending undesirables limb from limb, after the rest of the Wrecking Crew do their number, he eats up any incriminating DNA evidence.  He hopped home with us all the way from the three-ended bridge in Zanesville, Ohio.

Toad

Tod the Toad [1]Having written about a Yankee transplant in Kentucky whose God-fearing neighbors wanted him burned at the stake for having two little concrete demons out at the end of his driveway, it occurred to me to wonder what the neighbors thought of our unusual “pets.”  One weekend, when the neighbor-lady’s father was visiting from Buffalo, I asked if they were offended or worried in any way.

Logical thinkers, they had no problems.  The dad asked, though, “Shouldn’t they be facing outwards?”  He don’t know us very well, do he?  On the wall, just inside the front door, is a small parchment which reads, “Remember, as far as anyone knows, we’re just a nice normal family.”  They’re there to protect the rest of the neighborhood from us!

SDC10459

Losing My Religion

More and more, all over North America, and probably the world, smug, self-assured “Good Christians” are having their unthinking beliefs and systems questioned and rejected.  One of the recent sore spots has been the distribution in Public Schools, of Gideons’ Bibles.  The local school board took its own sweet time, but finally agreed to end the practice, after increasing complaints from Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, Atheists, and even some Christians.  Of course, the Christians wanted the Gideons’ Bible out, and their Bible in.

The wife’s Bible, which I have been using as a reference book for years, had started to get a little tattered.  When my brother was placed in the local Catholic hospital for quintuple bypass surgery, and I visited him, he was taken from the room for a few minutes for a test.  While he was gone, I looked inside his bedside drawer, and took the Gideons’ Bible that was placed there.  What?  They hope people take them home.  Brother wouldn’t touch one, even with heart surgery, but I needed a new one.

I live in a suave, sophisticated urban area, and can even say that without giggling too hard.  There are still regions in Southern Ontario which are more Bible-belt than here.  Despite the tourist Mecca/casino aspects, the Niagara Region Board of Education still has not ended the Christian-only handouts.  There’s even a public-funded Mennonite school.  An Atheist couple had refused to sign a consent form for their daughter to receive a Bible, but were particularly incensed when she was expected to distribute them to other Grade five students.

They have officially applied to have a booklet titled Just Pretend: A Free Thought Book for Children and Losing Faith In Faith, distributed to the same students.  A female newspaper columnist doesn’t understand the concept.  She asks, if they object to the Bible being distributed, why would they think it’s acceptable to have this booklet handed out.  This is how the Christian monopoly of the Lord’s Prayer-only in schools was broken.  A local Muslim group offered to distribute Korans, but backed out at the last minute.  Still, it stirred the board to action.

If enough of a fuss is raised, and they are refused the right to give away their literature, they have grounds for legal action.  Jewish and Muslim groups asked to have their prayers said along with the Lord’s Prayer.  The courts rightly decided that it was an all or nothing situation.  Since the “Good Christians” didn’t want their kids exposed to “that heathen crap”, they decided on nothing.  The heathens didn’t take God and the Lord’s Prayer out of school, Christians did.

A Connecticut Yankee in King Jesus’ Court was transferred to a branch office in Kentucky, by his company.  An extension was added to a road up a mountain, out in the boondocks.  He purchased the last, highest lot, and lived in a trailer while he cut trees to clear a site and build a log home.  He thought he was getting along well with the locals, but after several months of the first summer, he realized there was a problem.  He began to hear that the mountain folk wanted something done about him.  Burned at the stake was not specifically mentioned, but there was a lot of, he felt, undeserved antipathy.

Wanting to remain a good neighbor, he began asking those who would speak to him, what the problem was.  It began with the fact that he had brought with him from Yankee-land, two small concrete garden Demons, and had placed them on both sides of the end of his driveway.  These God-fearin’ folks didn’t cotton to no Demon-worshippers.

He protested that he didn’t worship them, or any other Demons.  They were just silly caricatures, for decoration.  Yeah, then why don’t y’all go to church on Sunday mornin’ when we go to church?  Because I thought that was a good time to haul out the chainsaw and cut down a bunch more trees when you weren’t here to be disturbed by the noise.

Sadly, at this point, I lost the story.  Nothing further was published.  He was probably as good a Christian as was necessary in Connecticut, a vague believer, just not a great church attender, and was not ready for the degree of surveillance and intrusion from hyper-Christians.

To be tolerated, he had to fit tightly within these peoples’ religious limits, do exactly as they did, act exactly as they acted.  It was probably a great surprise to him to find these “Good Christians” with no live-and-let-live in their makeup.  Narrow-minded and narrow-social-viewpoint people like these are slowly and reluctantly learning that other people have legal, social and moral rights to act differently, without interference.

There is a tiny poem which reads;

Rebel, heretic, a thing to flout,

He drew a circle to shut us out,

But Love and I had the wit to win.

We drew a circle which took him in.

There are millions of Hyper-Christians who will not enlarge their circle to take in anyone whose beliefs don’t exactly match theirs.  Frighteningly, many of them have advanced to powerful positions within the American government.  It is hoped that, slowly but surely, they will be shown that citizens other than Good Christians have equal rights.