Dan and I are often in California visiting our two sons, their wives and the World’s Most Wonderful Grandbaby. They all live within two miles of each other, on an island across the bay from San Francisco. We’ve just returned from a 12-day visit full of cuddles, laughter and love. We’re still recuperating.
No matter how many times we visit California, the weather, plants and ocean nearness charm us, and no matter how many times we visit, we are fascinated with the residents’ yards. There are ingenious landscaping designs, some created in that small bit of ground between the sidewalk and the road.
Other yards obviously have professional landscapers, while still others are used to grow vegetables. Some yards are interesting variations of rocks and boulders, a nod to the drought conditions often found in this part of the country. And then there’s the yard of our eldest son, Seth, and his wife, Lindy.
The first thing to know about Seth and Lindy is that they are artists. Playful artists who see infinite possibilities in the world; possibilities many/most of us might not see. They think outside the box; actually, I doubt they even know what the box is.
When Seth and Lindy bought their home, the yard was all rocks. Rather than trying to regenerate the unmaintained garden planted by the elderly previous owners, the real estate agency bulldozed the yard and added rocks, placed in dubious designs. It was dreadful. To make matters worse, the new home featured a breakfast nook with a picture window looking directly onto all those rocks.
One night Jean, a friend, came over and the conversation turned to the rock yard. What could they do? The project was overwhelming, and Lindy said, “I know, we’ll just fill the yard with dinosaurs.”
One morning a few months later, Seth wandered into the kitchen for a cup of coffee. Cup in hand, he turned and almost dropped his coffee cup. Staring into the breakfast nook window, almost eye-to-eye with Seth, was a lime green and yellow Tyrannosaurus. Jean had taken Lindy at her word and secretly built this two-hundred-pound cement and plaster dinosaur. Under the cover of darkness, Jean and friends had heaved her creation in the yard, and placed it for optimal surprise at the window, facing in.
After the shock wore off, Seth and Lindy LOVED their gift, immediately naming her Amanda. Feeling that Amanda might be lonely, Lindy made two baby dinosaurs to keep her company. To keep Amanda cool, Seth added two windmills and thus an epic yard was born.
Seth and Lindy live close to the local beach and word of an amazing dinosaur yard soon spread. Visitors arrive frequently, waving and talking to Amanda and her babies. Amanda is especially popular at Halloween when she gives out candy and small plastic dinosaurs. Amanda is also photo ready at Christmas when she dons a festive Santa hat. It is not an exaggeration to say Amanda is known throughout the island.
Walking up to the Seth and Lindy yard always makes me smile. They don’t have well-tended sculpted plants or interesting variations of rocks and boulders; they don’t need those things; they have dinosaurs and that’s enough.
Cindy Arp, teacher/librarian, retired from Knox County Schools. She and husband Dan live in Heiskell.