(Sarah Simpson/Citizen)

Sarah Simpson Column: Neighbourhood skeleton’s gearing up for graduation

Decorated statues are one of life’s simple pleasures

Growing up, my sister, my mother and I attended mass on Saturday nights at 5 p.m. I suppose you could say, we attended religiously, (haha). As you would probably suspect, however, the best part of going to church for my sister and me wasn’t actually church at all.

During corn season it was mom stopping to get some of the fresh Delta corn being sold on the side of the road near our parish on the way home. For the rest of the year it was the little donkey statue out front of a home near the church that was always decorated for the season. There’d be bunny ears and a basket at Easter, and who knows what at Christmas. You get the deal — the best part was looking out the window as the car went by, trying to remember which house it was and then trying to see what the little donkey was wearing this time.

Simple pleasures I suppose. It’s similar to Cantelope — the horse statue at the Trading Post feed and tack shop across the street from the Nanaimo airport. The kids and I are always on the lookout for what Cantelope is wearing.

As an aside, have you ever wondered how Cantelope got his name? According to the shop’s website:

“A friend of mine owned a trucking company that hauled fresh fruit for Safeway. On one particular trip he was picking up Cantaloupe near Indio, CA. The horse was crated and loaded on to a refer van for his trip to Canada.

“When he arrived at the unloading dock in Victoria, the workers opened the back door to unload the melons. The looks on their faces!!

“One of them said “Hey Gerry, I think you had the refer unit set too cold….we’ve got a stiff one back here!”

“He was so stiff, to this day, he still can’t lope.”

I thought that was pretty funny anyway.

So, where was I? Right. The little decorated donkey is long gone now, as is the house that stood behind it — both the victims of land sales and the house, anyway, to demolition in favour of increased density.

Cantelope is still thriving along the Trans-Canada Highway though.

And the other day I got an email from the neighbour of a Duncan couple who do something similar right here in the city.

“We need good and happy news these days,” wrote Carol Birch in her message. “This home has become a destination since Halloween! There is a theme for every season and major event in the front yard. You just missed spring and now graduation is happening.”

I just had to go check it out and to my great fortune, I had arrived in time to see the graduation decor.

There in front of the address listed in the email, were three skeletons — two roughly five feet tall and the other perhaps 20 feet tall (don’t quote me on their heights) — all ready to graduate. The two smaller ones were dressed in their fancy clothes while the big one was sporting a super-sized cap and gown while hanging on to his/her diploma.

Now, my children weren’t too sure about what the heck was happening in the front yard of Tabi Henry and Chris Fraser’s house but it made me grin and after a quick explanation, they were grinning, too.

Quite clearly the Halloween decorations at the Henry/Fraser house have been morphing to match the seasons and it seems at least one neighbour thinks it’s become quite the roadside attraction!

I had to know more so I gave Tabi a call.

“We bought it at Halloween and when you spend that much money on something you can’t put it away when you’re done with it!” she said with a chuckle. “I think people that go by just love seeing it,” she added. “They wait to see what the next theme is going to be. Every month we do something different. It would look weird if it was naked all year.”

With graduation being featured now, it was no surprise when a group of members of the class of 2022 rang her doorbell and asked if they could take some photos.”

Of course she obliged.

“Why not right?” she said.

Why not indeed!

ColumnistComedy and Humour

Pop-up banner image ×