We live in a neighborhood that’s full of character. Or, as my mother used to say, “You’ve got a lot of characters in this neighborhood.” Sometimes, one of those characters is a giant hot dog; also, the giant hot dog adds to the neighborhood’s character (see what I did there?).
Both statements are true. One day, driving home, I spotted a character that one of the neighborhood characters had left out. These may, in fact, be the same neighbors that stole a rental truck awhile back, but I can’t be sure.
In any event, the character was posed, looking at once festive and forlorn, near the side of the road. I assumed that he’d been put out for trash.
I had no illusions that I’d be the subject of one of those irksome articles, like this one from Mental Floss, “6 Valuable Works of Art Discovered in People’s Attics and Garages“. Not only had I not found this in an attic or garage (mine or anyone else’s), but my finely trained eye immediately discerned that this was not, in fact, a priceless work of art. It was, however, charming (remember, “charming” is in the eye of the beholder!).
Are You Home?
I got home and ran inside, yelling the three words my husband hates most: “Are you home?” In 20 years of marriage, Gene has learned to fear these three words almost as much as he fears these three words when we arrive at Target: “Get a cart.” As his (bad) luck would have it, my “Are you home?” was instantly followed by “Get a cart!” I’m sure that at that moment, he thought he’d fallen asleep and was in the midst of a terrible nightmare.
Unfortunately for him, he was awake.
Me: “Can you grab the hand cart and come with me please? We have to get the neighbor’s trash, like, RIGHT NOW.”
Gene: “Whyyyyyy???? Come on!”
Me: “No, it’s really cool! Trust me!”
Good sport that Gene is, he dutifully grabbed the cart and followed me around the corner. I ignored his whimpering, and insisted that someone, somewhere, would want this…thing.
Who Wants a Giant Hot Dog?!
We got it onto the hand cart, and most of the rust fell off during its ride to our yard. Well, not our yard – getting it through our house and onto our back patio seemed like a dicey proposition. I left it on the patio, as far from the pool deck as I could, and promptly posted “Who wants a giant hot dog?!” on Facebook. Incredibly, a good friend and former neighbor who’d moved a few hours away replied almost instantly: “Hang on to that thing! I’ll get down there as soon as I can!”
Thankfully we have cool neighbors, so I sent everyone an email:
Subject: “Yes, there is a giant hot dog behind the pergola!”
Text: “It’s now resting comfortably on the mulch behind the table. You may have seen it put out for trash on Hibiscus – I saw it, and posted it on FB, and an old neighbor asked that we grab it so she can come get it. Hopefully she’ll do that very soon; we realized it would be tricky to get onto our back patio so we set it there for now…Thank you!”
Just about a week later, I could tell that my neighbors were running a bit low on patience; I assured everyone that Giant Hot Dog would only be our guest for another 48 hours, at most. The next afternoon, our friend arrived. We got to spend an awesome, relaxing afternoon catching up with each other, and then, off she went, Mr. Hot Dog resting comfortably in the back of her van.
The moral of the story: If you see a giant hot dog on the side of the road, pick it up. I mean, you might never have this opportunity again! ⧉