Harley Hay

Harley Hay: Cash in that garden gnome

Life is strange, isn’t it? Odd things happen in this crazy world, don’t they? Some days you just have to give your head a shake, splash your face with cold water, and sally forth into the brink.

Take the night of Oct. 12. A lady named Ruth Hamilton was busy sleeping in her home in Golden, B.C. whereupon she experienced “a huge explosion and debris all over (her) face.” She got up, turned on the light and happened to notice a hole in her ceiling above her bed. Also there was a heavy rock the size of a melon. It had come to rest between her pillows. Experts confirmed the melon rock was in fact a meteorite and Ms. Hamilton confirmed that life “could be gone at any moment even when you think you are safe and secure in your bed.” No word on whether she’s planning on installing a titanium four-poster canopy.

On the other side of that particular coin, this week a fellow from Maryland won the lottery. So what, you may say, lots of people (besides me, you might say) win lotteries. Sure, but last year he won the $10,000 lottery, a few months ago he won the $1,000 prize and a few days ago he collected $100,000. And mega-moola is much more magnificent that a melon meteorite – right?

Here’s a question for you: do you have statues in your garden or on your lawn, or on your plinth in your living room? If you’ve answered ‘yes’ or even ‘maybe’ to my question you just may be as lucky as the lottery guy. Also, you may ask, what the heck is a plinth? Regardless, on Oct. 13 this week a couple in Sudbury, England were selling their home and decided to get rid of a couple of dirty old sphinx statues that had been in their garden for 15 years. They were hoping to get around $500 for them, however, the two busted busts did a smidgen better at auction. About $265,510 better, to be exact. Turns out they were authentic Egyptian artifacts. So check around your place. That garden gnome may be much more than just a whimsically unattractive $46 lawn creature, and maybe you’ll sell it for a bundle and get a really nice plinth for your pink flamingo statue.

And here’s a story from Fargo, North Dakota that’s a little squirrely. Just two weeks ago one Bill Fischer noticed a red squirrel climbing all over his Chevy Avalanche parked outside his house. And when he got into his car he noticed something else. Walnuts. Many, many, many walnuts. The squirrel had been very busy storing his winter stash. Bill found walnuts in the engine compartment, the dash, the frame. He even had to pull his fenders off and they were chock full of walnuts. He removed some 150 pounds (68,000 grams!) of walnuts – the work of one single squirrel. Now, that’s (sorry)… nuts!

And this from Turkey: A 50-year-old fellow named Beyhan Mutlu got up one morning to find a search party gathering to look for a missing person in the nearby woods. He graciously joined in the search and a while later realized that they were in fact calling out his own name. “Oh,” he said, “That’s me.” He had been partying the night before, imbibing excessively and falling asleep at a buddy’s place at 2 a.m. unbeknownst to his friends, who reported him missing.

So whether you are going nuts with nuts, or bonkers with meteorites, or you’ve lost yourself in the woods, you can always hope to cash in a lottery ticket or an Egyptian garden gnome.

Harley Hay is a Red Deer author and filmmaker. Send him a column idea to harleyhay1@hotmail.com.