Chief Front-Yard

New coat of war paint.

If you’re nice to people sometimes they give you things. Which would explain why I’ve had to buy practically everything I own.

On my last two trips to Palm Springs I’ve been casually admiring things in Robert’s  collection. When I do he usually says “just take it.”

Like me, he loves his objets but is not that tied to them. It always surprises my friends how nonchalant I can be about letting things go that I seemed to once covet.

Also like me, Robert is a lottery winner for senior housing. His prize is an apartment overlooking the park in San Diego. Getting old is so fun and easy.

In preparation for his move he’s having a huge blowout yard sale next week to lighten his load. I helped out by taking the terracotta warrior and the circus wagon bird cage on my last visit.

Robert picked up the Aztec in the early 70s when he was in the Yucatan. Cancun barely had a landing strip at the time, the Girls Gone Wild crowd was a decade or two away. He said he never bothered to retouch the paint on the chieftain. He liked to watch it age.

But after 30 years of desert grime I gave him a bath. It resulted in washing out most of the color. So I did a makeover remaining as true to the original scheme as possible. With the addition of a little metallic.

He now stands proudly in the 9′ x 7′ Vermeer window. At four feet tall he’s the perfect fit. And the fresh coat of bling gives him street cred with the peeps out on Laguna.

A Colombian friend came by and saw the statue. He was unimpressed. He thought it was crass and said it was like flamingoes.

I didn’t understand so he clarified. “In Central America there’s one in everybody’s front-yard, like the flamingoes in Florida.”

He wasn’t talking live ones. But at least he inspired a name.

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