Eighteen months ago, sitting at my desk in a busy suburban newspaper office, I would not have imagined I would one day be stuffing a scarecrow. Yet, that’s exactly what I found myself doing yesterday at the arts centre where I now work part time.

I’m overseeing (bossing around) the construction of a small community vegetable garden at the centre, with the aim to get children involved in looking after it. A few weeks ago they made a scarecrow…well, a scarecrow body…and put him in a cupboard. Yesterday I decided it was time he saw some of the glorious winter sunshine we are experiencing in Perth. With arms stuck on his waist, a dangerously wobbly head and skinny, falling-off legs, he needed more than sunshine. He needed surgery of a radical kind.

At the local op (thrift) shop I found the cutest farmer-style overalls. No, not for me. Teaming this up with a Mexican hat (got to be sun smart Down Under) and a check shirt, I presented them to the straw man. He didn’t bat an eyelid. He doesn’t have any but he could have shown some interest… Dredging up my “dressing your toddler” voice, I told my shaggy friend that he was wearing these clothes like it or not. I have to say, he wasn’t particularly cooperative and it felt like I really was dressing Monkey and Bear back when they were three. Except I never had to cut my sons’ arms off in order to stuff them in a shirt.

It turned out this was the easy part. A fellow staff member took photos of me pushing and shoving the straw man into his overalls with extreme vigour, stopping every now and then for a water break. It was a butt angle so the photo won’t be shared. (She is under strict instructions to delete the photo but so far she has ignored me.)  So, I shoved and poked and prodded the scarecrow into his clothes until it appeared the liposuction was necessary…or shall I say, straw redistribution? You can see the near finished result above. That’s me trying to figure out how to re-attach the head. It fell off during all the shoving and poking and prodding. Yes, I was being gentle. No, I did not have a tantrum. It just…fell off.

It’s warming up outside – better out than in, as it’s said (though in a different context) – and I’m off to give the scarecrow a new head. Wish me luck.

PS. It’s now a couple of hours later and here is the finished scarecrow. I can’t take credit for his happy face – I sweet talked one of the artists at the centre into painting that (he huffed and puffed and did a great job). Now I just have to get him onto a pole and start a “Name the Scarecrow” competition.




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