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September 4, 2005

Katrin Wiegand

Translated from the German by Andrea Carson

Our Garden shall be beautified

At times it doesn't take much for one to be amused. Amongst the monotony of everyday life you can always find some small pearls of cheerfulness - you'll just have to be able to recognize and savor them.

I am not sure how often you can find this in Germany, the country known for its garden gnomes, but, as far as I can remember back, located at the gates of my city .. well, let's say at the gateway to my backwater town, there has always been a »Our garden shall be beautified«.

I am referring to a fenced in area, which is cluttered with small and large busts and statues, in white or terracotta, chiseled by masons or sculptors, which you can and shall purchase and put them in your garden as an adornment. The statues.. not the masons! There are signs hanging on the fence that indicate a 25% off sale and other signs tell you what these works of art are meant for, just like this one sign that's been hanging there for the past 25 years, bleached from the sun, it reads: Our garden shall be beautified. In the midst of this compound, between terracotta frogs, Adonis statues and marbeled bird baths, you find, slightly elevated, on its corresponding pedestal, an above man's size tall angel, who is playing a trombone or some other similar wind instrument, I am not too familiar with them. To make it easier, I'll just call him the trumpet angel. As I mentioned, this trumpet angel is pretty big..without his pedestal he presumably is about 2m tall. He's all white and he's probably been blowing his trumpet toward the West for more than 20 years. As a basic principal, I feel slightly to totally adversed toward an embellishment like that, and even if I had a garden the size of a metropolitan cemetary, a chiseled venus or a baptistery for birds would NOT be in it. And definitely not some trumpet tooting messenger from heaven!

I have a close relative who believes, possibly because of her longtime americanization, that one would find this winged marble creature beautiful and would actually want to put it in ones garden. Yes, really, she's serious about it! So serious, that she eventually encouraged me to enter the compound and ask a hopefully available knowledgeable salesman for the price of the artwork. I did as I was told! After walking past statue of liberty replications and intertwined cement lads, I actually found a young man dressed in work clothes standing next to a board partition in the middle of the enclosure. I asked him about the price for this .... work of art! The young man took a many-sided pricelist out of the board partition and after leafing through the papers for a while he was able to quote me the price. No .. to enhance the suspense I'd like to first know your estimated opinion: How much could such a trumpet angel possibly cost? A not very representative census amongst my circle of friends generated an estimated price margin of 800 to 4000 Euros. Prices, for which an old woman ... well.. nevermind what.. at least it would take a long time. Should this »darling?« angel actually be worth 4000 Euros?

But no, what is the next thing the good man proclaims? The over 2m tall trumpet angel costs a mere 28,000 Euros. Written out: twentyeightthousand. When the nice man then informs me of the current 25% off sale for certain materials and then calculates (with his calculator!) that I should take advantage of the favorable chance bargain and purchase the thing for ONLY 21,000 Euros, I can hardly listen. The idea, that anyone in this world would rather have this marbled winged trombone monster art than 28,000 Euros, provided me with a whole afternoon of pure delight and reflective hilariousness.

To express my gratitude, I am now considering the purchase of a terracotta snail.

Photo (marbled winged trombone monster art)


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Katrin Wiegand

Jahrgang 1972.

Aufgewachsen im Vordertaunus, hat sie es nach zwei Jahren Zwischenstation in Berlin nun ins Ruhrgebiet verschlagen.

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