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Installment #42

Traveling Gnomes. I always just thought this was a Travelocity thing. Didn't realize it was a "prank" that started back in the 80s which involves stealing a gnome, taking it on a trip, photographing it at famous landmarks, and sending those photos to the owner. There are actual clubs and organizations dedicated to this prank. Of course, I'm sure everyone reading this already knew this; but if you didn't, please let me know so that I don't feel like a complete idiot. One random day in January 2011 while visiting with a friend, I noticed her garden gnome peeking out from being buried in an ass-deep amount of snow. He caught my attention as I was leaving her house and he seemed to be crying out to me… "Please, take me to Hawaii with you!" … “Sorry, snowy gnome, there just isn't room in my suitcase for you”. Besides, even if there was room in my suitcase, Henry, had decided (as he always does when I pack to go somewhere) that he wasn’t going to let me keep packing. I think that he thinks if he lays on my suitcase, it will keep me from leaving; just like when he plops down in front of the front door, I guess he thinks I won't be able to get the door open to leave the house. Is my cat the only one that is funny like that? But I digress, I now had a pressing need to find a mini garden gnome to take with me on my trip to Hawaii; just for shits and giggles and, of course, creative photography opportunities. Now, the real challenge… where on earth could I find a miniature garden gnome. I had no time for such frivolous shopping, so I compromised and took along this crazy little cloth doll that had come my way via a client I was working with at the time. I reached out and asked if I could purchase the odd-looking rag doll out-right, she said I could have it. I pulled her from my eBay line-up, packed her in my suitcase and away we went on our first trip to Maui where we stayed with an elementary schoolmate that I had reconnected with on Facebook. Once in Maui, and sipping a cocktail, I pulled her out and introduced her to my gracious host for the next week. “What’s her name?”… Hmmmmm, I guess she does need a name. Out of nowhere I called our “Betty”. My friend laughed, “that’s my mom’s name”; I had no idea of that. We laughed together and then they suggested adding “Lolo” which means crazy in Hawaiian; Lolo Betty was born. She had the adventure of a lifetime! She trekked around the island of Maui with me for 6 days. She sipped cocktails, played on the black sand beaches, hiked through a bamboo forest, went on a submarine ride, sunbathed at the nude beach, got a grass skirt outfit, and fell in love with a hula boy. SHE is Lolo Betty!

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