Years ago my then very small daughter said that she wanted a scarecrow. We were living in our first house in Austin, and actually had a more-or-less functional garden at the time. I thought about it for a while and decided that there was no reason not to. I had an old, worn out flannel shirt, a battered pair of blue jeans, and a “gardening hat” that had seen better days. I took a couple of pieces of lath and made a rough frame — “arms” nailed across an upright. Then I wrapped a piece of pale cloth around some rags to form a head and added an old dust mop for hair. I assembled it all into a hint of a person and stood it in the garden. I thought he looked pretty good.

Austin Scarecrow

Austin Scarecrow

So that evening I showed him to Hilde. She wasn’t impressed.

It took me a while, but eventually I realized that she didn’t want a scarecrow; she wanted the Scarecrow, from the movie The Wizard of Oz.

My scarecrow didn’t dance like Ray Bolger, and as far as I know no one ever had a conversation with him. He was, however, about as effective at driving off crows as his predecessor in Oz. He stood in the garden for a season.


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