According to the many myths and legends surrounding gnomes, in their various situations, cultures and differences in names (a tomte is a gnome and so is a nisser, or so I’ve read), gnomes and I share many traits in common. One is a dislike of change. I’m not a big fan of change, even though I know it is inevitable. Gnomes, who are traditionally benign creatures, can get a mite upset if one makes big changes around the house. Me to a t, or maybe a g.
Gnomes also like animals to be tended to with respect and care. I can get behind that. Gnomes might act on this in the form of a nasty prank, they can be mischievous and downright naughty depending on the situation, I simply fuss and fret inwardly and do my best to “baby” the creatures in my orbit. Oh, and they also love children. Ditto that.
Households are to be kept gneat and tidy by a gnome’s standard. I like things neat and tidy too. That I don’t always have the time and energy to keep things that way can be bothersome, but so far my gnomes have not turned on me in any awful way. Gnor have they lifted a finger to assist me. Ah well, who am I to expect help from a creature based in mythology and made of concrete or resin?
One might wonder how I came upon the subject of gnomes. For many years there have only been two in our house – though in European mythology they mainly live around farmsteads none have ever been in residence at our farm. But lately my friend and neighbor Laura freshened up four gnomes and posted a snap on Facebook. I was drawn to them. My original gnomes, Maurice and Pierponte’, were gifts from my late mother and I hold them dear. But years spent guarding my weed/flower bed in all sorts of weather have faded their original glory. I was in gneed of some brightening and the four little gnomes Laura offered were lovely; wearing brightly colored clothing and hats, with whimsical poses and expressions. I snapped them up immediately and eventually placed them in the area that was once weed/flower bed and is now hardscape. They’re so cute sitting atop rocks gnear the blue gazing ball.
I borrowed the names of my original gnomes from the TV series “Gilmore Girls” back in the day when it was airing via first run and not syndication. Lorelai’s neighbor Babbette (played by the infinitely lovably whacky Sally Struthers) had a preoccupation with garden gnomes and two of hers were named Maurice and Pierponte’. I liked those names. One of my gnomes smokes a pipe, so I dubbed him Maurice, the other is holding a book. Pierponte’ seemed a good bookish name. And so it’s just been the two of them all these years. When I hauled them out of basement storage and set them on the floor with the newest members of the gnome brigade, I realized how shabby they looked; red jackets and green pants dull; brown boots rock-scuffed; beards yellowing with age. The gnewest four looked perky and ready to go to work overseeing the yard; and may have actually looked askance at their larger, less than gleamingly gneat counterparts. With haste I messaged Laura asking for a makeover. Maurice and Pierponte’ are gnow safely in her hands and I know will come back looking spiffy as can be. She’s that good.
Then came naming the gnew gnomes. Even though nothing I’ve come across states France as the original country from which gnomes sprang, most lore comes via Scandinavia and then England, where house and garden gnomes first became popular to be precise. But French names just seem right somehow. Maurice is a French name, Pierponte’ at least sounds French, even if it isn’t, so I went through the filing cabinet in my brain – Etienne, Henri, Jacques, Pierre – which would fit? I stared the gnew gnomes down. They looked pleasantly back. Ah, the tallest one with a pointy blue cap and his hands stuffed casually in his pants pockets is now Jacques. A shorter one, sitting nearly criss-cross applesauce and holding a butterfly is Pierre. Jibs has a lovely smile and a bright yellow flower in his grasp. The other is Francios, no reason really, it just suits him.
So soon my garden, or rockscape as the case may be, gnomes will be five. Forgive me as I massacre Dorothy’s words from the “Wizard of Oz” at the beginning, and at the end, of this korner – there indeed is: gno place like gnome.