The following item is the result of recent conversations with local activists. Some did not wish to be identified, fearing reprisals for not being “politically correct enough.” A few, however, agreed to be photographed in order to illustrate their plight. We ask that their privacy be respected and remind readers that, while the statements made and opinions expressed by these brave workers do not necessarily reflect the views of the management here at Fish in a Barrel Pond, their patriotism can’t be denied.
“I don’t want to sound racist or nothin’,” said an activist we’ll call ‘Roy’, “but they all look the same to me! It ain’t right.”
“Yeah,” added ‘Myra’, “especially when they’re all in a big group outside the store, practically begging to go home with people. It’s creepy.”
“Just look at ’em!” said Roy. “I think they’re into drugs, too!”
Roy and Myra are scarecrows and they have seen a lot of changes in their profession since they started, Roy claims, well over 200 years ago.
“I was Ethan Allen’s personal scarecrow,” he explained. “While him and the Green Mountain Boys was runnin’ around, spankin’ them ‘Yorkers, I was guarding his corn. That was real work, by thunder. Most people don’t think past the crows but after them comes the raccoons and bears! These new wannabes don’t have a clue.”
When asked how a 250-year-old scarecrow could look so young, Roy credited a regimen of regular rejuvenation, saying, “New stuffing every year, new britches every ten and I’m good to go! Oh, and maybe a new jacket now and then. Don’t get me started on how many heads I’ve gone through but, more or less, I occupy the same space I always have for nigh on two and a half centuries! I think I’m French-Canadian now. And I have gout.”
The life of a scarecrow has never been easy, but the demands of the job have changed. Bob and Myra, once proud guardians of the land and the bounty their masters wrought forth from it, now find themselves reclassified as seasonal decorations. Locally sourced and relatively organic, they still embody the best of Vermont agriculture, but it’s just not the same.
“Work’s work, I guess,” said Myra, “and thank goodness we’re still on a farm, but standing around all day with people taking pictures does wear on us. I have a hard time keeping myself in order, what with my arms tied to these corn stalks and all, so I’m usually a mess on windy days. Those ‘things’ at the stores never look disheveled. Why, I bet you couldn’t yank those silly hats off if you tried!”
“I’ve heard they have to be brought inside!” added Roy. “Look at ’em! They’re not like us at all! That’s raffia, not straw!”
“And those outfits! They don’t even dress right! Send them back where they came from, wherever that is! Where are they from, anyway?”
“They’re everywhere!” exclaimed Roy. “They arrive by the thousands, every single day and nobody does a thing about it! Every one of them has stick up its butt and I’d like to smack those smirks right off their faces! They ain’t scarin’ nothin’!”
“Now, Roy, there’s no need for violence. Don’t fall apart on me!”
“It’s that stupid movie’s fault! Ray Bolger does a floppy song and dance in “The Wizard of Oz” and everyone thinks we’re happy brainless fools! I’m sorry, but I just hate change!”
At this point, Roy really did fall apart, partly because he was so upset but mostly because he was full of mouse nests. It was a devastating, season-ending injury, but Roy is reportedly resting comfortably after receiving treatment at a nearby scarecrow rehabilitation facility.
Roy and Myra fret for future generations of American scarecrows. Once honorable field workers, they, and many just like them, have become pumpkin hucksters and flower sellers and they wonder what will become of the younger scarecrows.
Scarecrows like ‘Chad.’
Chad has heard the traditional stories, passed down from scarecrow to scarecrow, of the way things used to be, and he’s not so sure the old ways are for him.
“Some years, I only work weekends or when a bus tour is expected, but I guess I’m lucky to have even that. I don’t think I could cut it as a traditional scarecrow, though. I mean, out there in the cold spring rain, protecting sprouts and having to stay in one place through the fall to fight bears? No way, man. I sell flowers.”
When asked what he thought of the proliferation of foreign scarecrows, Chad was more forgiving and progressive than some of his elders, like Roy.
“So what if they’re not from around here,” he said. “I see them go by in cars on the road sometimes, coming in from the stores in town. Some of them are pretty hot and I wouldn’t mind hooking up, but it’s not like we run in the same circles, you know? Heck, it’s not like we run at all, so I guess as long as they’re not right here, I’ve got nothing against them.”
“Frank” and “Lumpy” just recently found out they are scarecrows. They are proud of their new-found profession and their enthusiasm shows.
“We don’t need all them foreigners coming here and taking our jobs! It’s time to stand up and be counted!” yelled Frank.
“All over this great land of ours, shirts and pants sit empty, just waiting to be stuffed,” said Lumpy. “Who knows how many scarecrows are out there? Maybe dozens! They just don’t know they’re scarecrows yet. Why, I, myself, had no idea I was so good-looking or so good at my job until a couple of months ago. I’m still not really sure just what my job actually is, but look how well my clothes fit!”
“If more of us would come out of the closet, we wouldn’t have to worry about these foreign invaders!” added Frank. “Out of the closet, or the box, or even the pile in the corner! The more of us there are, the fewer of them are needed. And the best part is, we’re free! Scarecrows have always been free!”
The arrival of yet another motor coach meant it was back to work for this small band of activists. Glad for the work they have, but fearful of losing out to foreign competition, they are desperate to be heard. As they posed for the cameras, we asked for some parting words.
Looking over his shoulder (we think), Lumpy said, “Everyone out there should stuff hay, leaves or whatever into their pants. Not the pants they’re wearing, of course, unless they want to, but you know what I mean. People don’t need to be importing foreigners to lollygag around their yards. Us Americans can lollygag with the best of them!”
American scarecrows, just one more example of traditional workers losing their jobs to foreign invaders.
(Thanks to the good folks at the Dutton Farm Stand in Manchester, Vermont, who had no idea whatsoever this nonsense was taking place!)