We rearranged some furniture a few weeks ago here, and ended up with a big space in the kitchen. We wanted to put a table in it, so Nathan and I went to the local Goodwill. There were no tables of that size to be bought, but on the way back, as I drove us along East Street, Nathan spotted a table just sitting out in a yard by the curb. Upon further investigation, it turned out to be a stereo console, vintage 1980s, with an AM-FM radio, turntable, and 8-track player. We asked at the house there, and the people were indeed throwing it out. Now, this thing is seriously awesome, and probably cost a pretty hefty amount when it was new. Nathan and I carried it a few hundred yards back to the house (it wouldn’t fit in the trunk), and installed it in its place in the kitchen; it fit perfectly. Inside it were several terrible 8-tracks, such as “Polka Party” and “Chet Atkins: Pickin’ Nashville”. We couldn’t get the 8-track part to work, but oh well, at least until we get better tapes. It also came with a 7-inch record of Jimi Hendrix playing “Gloria”. The turntable was confusing at first, but with the help of the included user manual, we figured it out, and got it to really play Jimi, with awesome sound quality. So, not only do we have more table space when the top is folded down, but we now also have a fully functional record player (and AM-FM radio) with a sweet stereo system. Everyone in the house thinks it’s pretty much the best thing ever. Lizzie said, “I’m so glad it’s a part of my life.” So am I. And through this boon, we’ve also discovered that records gravitate toward a record player: everyone who’s heard of our find seems to have some old records buried away somewhere, or know someone who has some records, and they all plan to bring them over to EcoHouse sometime. So the console is also a great community builder! I bought some records at Goodwill for it today at 79¢ apiece: some Beethoven, the Grand Canyon Suite by Ferde Grofé, and Feets Don’t Fail Me Now by Herbie Hancock. (Trivia: Herbie Hancock went to this college.) It is a source of great joy.
A few weeks ago, Ben (you may recall him from previous years) and I walked to the local ice cream place, Dari Barn. He wasn’t hungry, but he did say their funnel cake fries looked good. He also admired their little collection of figurines in the window, and, since he has a small collection of gnomes (that is, two), he mentioned that a gnome would go perfectly there. This he said while the girl at the counter was taking my order, and she asked if he would bring a gnome. She offered to make a trade: she would give him an order of funnel cake fries, if he would bring them a gnome later. It happened too quick for him to think, and before he knew it he’d agreed to give them a gnome.
Well now Ben was in a jam! He didn’t have an extra gnome to give out: he only had two, and they were both very close to him. Their names are Miguel and Rudyard, and he hand-painted Miguel. So he would have to find a new gnome, which wouldn’t be as easy as it might sound.
Fast forward to yesterday. I was going to Goodwill to replenish my stock of sweaters, and I decided I should buy Ben a gnome to give to the Dari Barn people. The only thing I found was a terra cotta gnome-shaped candle holder, where you put the candle inside, and the gnome’s eyes and mouth glow an eerie color, presumably (I never lit it). I bought that today, and tonight we walked again to Dari Barn. It was much colder than last time, and with a stiff wind. We brought them the gnome, but none of the same people were working, and they seemed pretty puzzled as to why we had brought them a gnome candle holder. They were prepared to accept it, but they weren’t nearly as awesome as the girl who’d put Ben into gnome debt, and they weren’t enthusiastic about the whole situation. On the other hand, Ben really wanted to keep the gnome. Eventually we decided that he would enjoy it much more than the Dari Barn people, so we ordered with normal money and kept the gnome. Now he’s going to paint it too, and name it, and eventually I’ll go to his room and find it illuminated with gnomelight.