Wednesday, June 13, 2012


It came from a yard sale and was the inspiration for a collection.
Imagine my surprise when Fletcher handed me the box.
It was heavy.
I scrabbled through the paper and out came this fellow!
Behind me X spoke.
"What the hell is that!"
My response was to laugh myself to tears.
The weekend before, Fletcher and I had spent a day at yard sales 
and the flea market.
As we walked along, we joked about the crazy things
people sell and questioned why they would have gotten them in the first place.
The Cook Island carved man was the object that we had riddiculed the most. 
We decided that the only reason that one would have such a carving,
was, if one had gotten it as a gift...
from a relative who would surely look to see it on display...
forcing one to keep it until that relative moved or passed away.
Therefore, it got our vote as the least likely thing we would ever own.

Now in defense of the above pictured fine example of 
Cook Island folk art...
we were just joking around.
We had been inspired by a coworker who complained constantly 
about everything being ugly or useless.
Her negativity had been driving us bats for weeks.
So we took on an exaggerated version of her persona for giggles
as we strolled through the flea market.
Fletcher and I both began to collect ugly things for each other...
and ourselves.
This fellow is my very favorite ugly thing!
He's a "Billiken"...
"The God of things as they ought to be" .
To have one is reputed to be good luck.
He's also the mascot of St. Louis U.
His story is pretty interesting if you care to cruise the net:
Billiken - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Yes, there is indeed a Church of Good Luck!
Not to be confused with the Church of Elvis in Portland, Or.
Or the Church of Bob, both of which crack me up.
I know, I'm easily amused.

I have strayed from the path.
For years my "ugly" wooden man stood on my balcony.
I named him appropriately; 
Then I moved up north and settled him on my front porch...
in a small alcove right next to the front door...
in the hopes that he would frighten off salesmen.
That was the joke anyway.

Then X's mom came to live with us for a few years.
The first time she looked at him she said
This was the sound she made when feeling uncomfortable...
such as when people swear or there is kissing on TV.
Clearly Woody's lack of pants disturbed her.

Soon after I came home and found that Woody had taken a hike!
I asked the kids if they knew where he went.
"Huh?  He's gone?"
I began to feel suspicious.
Things had mysteriously vanished in the past when
X's mom was around.
"He's too disturbing to have by the front door.
My friends will see him.
Its embarrassing." 
she said.
I could see that it really bothered her.
She did not have my sense of humor and likely as not,
she was right and her friends would not get it.
Woody was banished to the back yard patio.
I could make that concession.
She was not going to live with us forever.

Poor Woody.
Items would be piled in front of him so that he could not be seen.
I put those things away.
A plant was placed next to him and obscured his personal area.
This I truly found funny but harmless enough.

Then one day he was gone like shoe skate keys.
( I have one of those in my collection of uglies too.)
No more Woody!
Eventually she confessed that she had thrown him out with the garbage...
to which I said a loud
but nothing else.
Fletcher gave me lots of ugly things in the four years
that we lived in the same town.
He was the guy that started my ugly collection...
which has given me much pleasure over the years...
and all my ugly treasures remind me of Fletcher.
Who I refer to as my "ugly friend"...
He says that always makes him smile.

Is there anything you collect?
Is it a serious collection?
I have trouble being serious sometimes.
I also collect wind up toys...
though my old basset chewed up a lot of my best ones.
Eventually I'll re-collect them.





  1. Okay, I have to admit - that stature is just a wee bit creepy!

    I don't have any real collections, although I do have a tendency to pick up things I find out in nature - rocks, shells, pinecones, and so on.

  2. X's mom had no right throwing Woody in the trash! It didn't belong to her, and that was way out of line. Woody would've made me laugh, seeing him in the front yard.

    Well along with movies I collect, I also have a collection of green glassware, plants, cat figurines (surprise, surprise) and Steiff animals.

  3. I love the idea of an 'ugly' collection. I would be so hurt if my MiL threw out something of mine! Very presumptuous!
    I don't really have a proper collection. I do like pretty bowls though...and bear things.

  4. I would never presume to throw out something that belonged to someone else no matter how ugly I deemed it. Your M-I-L had no right to toss Woody into the trash.

    I collect German Shepherd stuff, bookmarks (even though I never use them), unusual tins, and, of course, everything
    Star Trek.

  5. We have our own version of Woody in the garage. We call ours Frank, and he is a fertility god. Some friends of ours got it as a wedding present and after they had twins they decided it needed to be gone from the house so they gave it to us. And what do you know a few weeks later, Mrs. Shife was pregnant with Kyle. The dude is potent because a girl on my softball team just rubbed her shirt on him and she was preggers in a few weeks too. If you know anyone that needs a hand in that department, let me know because Frank has served us well. Enjoy your weekend.

  6. Secret Agent Woman- I love things like that too. In fact, I suppose rocks, shells, etc. were my earliest collection stuff.

    Tara- That is pretty much the way I felt about Woody too; that he was funny. My ex MIL was a very deeply religious, in a nutty way, woman. She felt that Woody was a demon and having him in the house was dangerous. One of those situations where it is best to just let go or invite crazy behavior. I love Steiff animals!

    laura b.- I would have guessed that you collected bear things. I have a sister who made a living off of making custom bears. I should share some of hers.

    Cube- She seriously thought she was protecting us. A very strange and sometimes frightening woman. She thought Night Gallery was leaking demons into the living room too.

    Ah yes... I figured you for your Trekky collection! The man also collects Star Trek. On our wedding day he graciously allowed me to take a shot out of his Star Trek shot glass. Its the only time I have seen it used. =:]

    Mr. Shife- Hahahaha. Come to think of it, I only had one child and he was the only child that I was going to have before Woody came to live with us... and Woody left just after our fourth child. Hummmm...