Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Scarecrow Clown

I saw the scarecrow as I drove out of town. He was a poor specimen even for his kind, as he stood with his back right up against the barn door that was hanging on its hinges. The owners had apparently given up on large scale farming and yet there was that down-at-the-heels apparition. His arms were raised up high, as if forbidding entry. But, it wasn't the barns contents he protected. It was the small garden directly in front of it.
These guys with their battered hats, colorful shirts and straw bodies used to dot the American countryside. That was when half of the country raised their own food. My grandfather was part of that percent, and every early summer Mr. Scarecrow appeared in some part of the garden and stayed until Autumn. Where he was deposited the rest of the year was a mystery. In my child's mind it could well have been in a coffin in the basement away from all wooden stakes, crosses and garlic. I was terrified of the straw man and never snatched so much as a green pea from his domain.
Grandpa's scarecrow always seemed to look the same, except for once. It was the year my still-at-home uncle saved for months to buy himself a fine maroon colored suit. He bought it in March for his wedding the following October, but before hanging it in the closet, he noticed the tiniest of spots near the bottom of the slacks. He went down to the washroom to ask Grandma if she could remove the stain and she quickly did so. Uncle laid the pants over a tub near the trash and went on talking of other things.
Grandpa's ever-vigilant garden protectorWAS different that year. He had on an old army helmet, a brilliant purple puffed-sleeve blouse, (neither of which was ever explained) and a good looking pair of Maroon pants.
By the time my uncle found out who was wearing his slacks it was too late to do anything but snort and paw the ground a few times; then take whatever the store had that would fit him. He was a stubborn man and determined to wear at least the jacket of his new suit.They only slacks they had available were a mustard color. So, those were the pants he had on with the maroon jacket. Would you believe it started a fad in the neighborhood that continues even today. Well, maybe not.
Matching the wedding flowers proved to be a challenge but, our family doesn't have to worry. We moved away long ago and have been busy starting similar disgusting fads in other areas of the county.
Strange how things happen. When the first farmer stuffed some straw in an old shirt, put a hat on it and hung it in his corn patch to scare off the crows, he couldn't have known what an impact it would have. Imagine him saying, "Yes, siree, this here'll scare those crows outta my corn. Those crows'll be mighty scared. It'll scare those crows so bad they'll stay away. Crows scare easy. Now, what'll I call this crow-scarin' fella?" And ...Voila!Scarecrow! A new word sprang from the soil of Americana. All because crows wouldn't stay out of the corn. Well,, I have trouble that way myself sometimes
Taken from the book, Uptown Down Home by A. Yeager


  1. What an enjoyable read this morning AND I just put out my scarecrows yesterday!

  2. You just gave me food for thought that I've never really chewed on. Such a good story! You have an amazing way of telling things, Audrey.I think there was a horror movie made about a scarecrow.
    Thank you,

  3. Scarecrows are scary, for me anyway. I will stay away from any crop guarded by a scarecrow, especially a scarecrow with maroon pants!