This year my grandkids are old enough to make a scarecrow man, and I am so excited. Next weekend can't some soon enough to suit me.
This will take some thinking and remembering on my part. It has been about fifteen years, I think, since I built my last such creation. When Cookie and Teebo were still at home, the building of Scarecrow Man was as much a part of our October ritual as painting pumpkins, carving jack-o'lanterns, roasting hot dogs, and riding around town in our minivan with a huge inflatable skeleton strapped safely in the back seat.
I have been biding my time these last four Octobers waiting for the perfect year to reinstitute Scarecrow Man as an October tradition, and I have the unmistakeable feeling that this is it. I can feel it in the gentle chill of these gorgeous late September mornings, and I can see it in the autumnal slant of the sunshine. I can hear that raspy whisper calling to me: "If they come, you will build it." Yep. Kevin Costner and I have a little something in common here.
Tucked away on a shelf in the basement are the flannel shirt and bib overalls that I rescued from the garage sale box just for this purpose. They have been waiting patiently for Scarecrow Man's return. I will need only to confiscate from Pa-pa an old pair of gloves, an old pair of boots, and a straw hat. Then, I will need to talk him into bringing me two bales of straw from the farm, one to use for stuffing and the other for the finished Scarecrow Man to perch on as he assumes his place of honor against the retaining wall out front. Oh, and I can't forget to buy a pumpkin: Scarecrow man will most certainly need a head.
Next Saturday or so Sooby, Pooh, and I will stuff the shirt and bibs with straw and tie the legs and sleeves and waist with binder twine or big rubber bands. We will tuck his legs into the boots, stick the gloves at the ends of his sleeves, balance his head atop the shirt (Scarecrow Man does not have a neck--he is an anatomic anomaly in this regard.), and top him with the hat. Then, we will prop our life-size new friend on his straw bale, magic-marker him a face, and stand back to admire our work. I imagine there will be a photo shoot in which Scarecrow Man will captivate everyone with his crooked-toothy jack-o-lantern smile.
A couple days ago I was talking to Sooby on the phone and telling her about our plans to build Scarecrow Man next time she comes to visit. The phone line went quiet, and I knew she was thinking. "Scarecrow Man?" she mused. "What about the tin man?"
Hmmm. The tin man. Well . . . .
There are some big boxes in the garage and a can of gray spray paint in the basement. I am thinking this New Millennium Scarecrow Man just might need a companion. My little Dorothy from Kansas has spoken, and her words are more powerful than those of the Great Oz himself. The last couple nights, I have drifted off to sleep with Tin Man blueprints running through my head as I contemplate what we might fashion into a makeshift oil can.
My small plastic watering pitcher is showing real possibilities. " Hurry up, next weekend," I think as I become lost somewhere along the road of yellow bricks running through the field of my own dreams.