My dear friend Carolyn has moved to Georgia. Actually she is moving tomorrow, but we had lunch yesterday and said "good bye." We met at a cute coffee shop in Small Town Next Door (to my favorite place for joe, please don't take offense). We had sandwiches and chatted for the longest time about all sorts of things, hopping from subject to subject as we are prone to doing. She brought in this trinket, a plastic figurine of a teddy bear with a piece of embroidery in a hoop with something syrupy and gaggy about friendship written on it. Someone had given it to her several years ago, and she found it while packing up her house for the moving truck. She was about to throw it out when she thought I might have a use for it. I found one. We waited until the counter help went back into the kitchen and then carefully placed it on a shelf with cookbooks on display. It became a kind of hidden treasure so that when people stop in for coffee and look through the cook books, they'll see the bear and wonder about it. I promised to go back in a month or two to make sure the little guy is still in his hiding place.
Years ago a man named James Hartman and his family and friends put tiny plaster sheep in odd spots like the top of the Eiffel Tower, the lap of Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial, and the clock tower of Big Ben. These little sheep are scattered all over the world with no pomp just waiting for someone to stumble upon them and wonder. Disney World is littered with secret Mickey Mouse heads in odd places like brick floors and wall paper. I think Carolyn and I should start spreading tacky figurines around the country as we travel. We could fill every coffee shop from New York to San Diego.
I miss Carolyn already. She once gave me a large glass ornament that is meant to remind you of the person who gave it to you. I have it hanging in my home-office window glowing blue as the sun shines through it, and when I look at it, I can see her house next door. I have always admired this ball, especially when the furnace is running, and the air flow makes the thing twirl a bit, but now when I look at it I can see the vacant house next door.
I have no idea who will move into that house. I'll try to be a welcoming neighbor, and I'll try not to backwash my swimming pool into their back yard. But I am wondering if I should move the friendship ornament so it will cause me to think of Carolyn and not the fact that she has gone. The good news is that she is moving only 45 minutes from where my mother and sister live, so we're likely to see each other from time to time. When I visit, I'll try to remember to bring a cheesy plastic statue with me so we can hide it in a coffee shop in her new town.