Monday, April 23, 2012

The jig is up

Jan and I spent a long weekend at Linda’s one spring when she still lived in New York State, hanging out, working jigsaw puzzles.  That's where we met Goose.  Concrete geese as lawn ornaments were already past their prime when Linda had to have one; nevertheless, she felt such a need that one came home in her van.    

Everything old is new again.  A 1920's goose.
Back then the geese actually were made of concrete, in size extra large.  Those geese moved about on hand carts.  They must have come unpainted, too, because when we first encountered Goose, Linda was negotiating with her daughter to have it painted.  Before we left that weekend, Goose had a lovely white body, a yellow beak, and yellow feet with green grass under them. 

While Cara and her boyfriend put several careful coats of paint on Goose, Jan, Linda and I worked on a complex new puzzle.  In truth, I did little; jig saw puzzles make me crazy.  Jan and Linda, however, have a knack and an obsession.  The last morning I got up much earlier than those two, who had spent the wee hours bent over the puzzle. 

I brushed my teeth and washed my face with a washcloth I found in a cupboard, and fitted maybe half a dozen little pieces when the two of them put in an appearance.  Linda dangled my morning wash cloth off the end of her finger and said just one cupboard over were towels and washcloths; why did I pick an old rag from the rag cupboard.  Over the course of the day, probably also due to my puzzle ineptitude, Linda teased me a whole lot about washing up with a rag.  When it was time to leave, I made sure that rag was tucked away in my suitcase.

Zipping down the New York Thruway going home I told Jan I not only had nicked that rag, I would figure out how to do something with it she couldn’t throw away, or put in the rag bag.  We were tossing a couple of ideas around the front seat when the phone rang in the back seat.  This was 1997, those phones were big and loud.  I jumped a foot, unfastened my seat belt and dug around the back seat while it kept on ringing.

“Hello.”  (No caller ID back then.)

“The jig is up!”

I almost dropped the phone or threw it up in the air on my way back into my seat.  How did she know I took that washcloth!?

“What jig?  What are you talking about?”

“I just put the last piece in the puzzle; the jig is up,” Linda said.

Well, it was sort of funny.  We chatted a couple more minutes and hung up.

“She’s in for it now,” I told Jan.  I stitched a goose on that ratty wash cloth.  Then I had it framed.  In gilt.  The frame shop really didn’t get it; when I picked the piece up they had tucked in the six inch long raggedy ripped off edge.  But they couldn’t hide thin and seer, or the hole.  It really was a fun weekend, and that goose is hanging in her Ohio bathroom now.


  1. That is too funny. Now you know I adore old really heavy concrete pieces like the goose. I just bought a lighter carousel double headed ram from my Sil.

  2. Great idea of putting the goose on the rag (that reads very odd if taken out of context). "The jig is up" - never heard that said when a puzzle was finished but it makes sense.

  3. Charming post. I loved the story of the washcloth.

  4. You have momento of that fun long weekend to look back on and laugh about in the years to come :-).

  5. I love how you had it framed in g(u)ilt! Joanne you are a great raconteur and I love your wicked sense of humour.

  6. Great story....she has a real conversation piece now.

  7. You have wicked sense of it!
    Jane x

  8. What a great story. Who has the concrete goose now?

  9. Huge smiles from here. I am not a fan of jigsaws either though my mother loved them.
    The goose was a hoot - both the big one, and the washcloth one. Thank you.

  10. Great story! You seem to have a talent for all needlework!

  11. Oh, I love that washcloth/rag/work-of-art! I never would have thought of it. Perfect!!! And I've never seen the point of lawn statuary. Until now. Now I want a goose!

  12. I am Linda, owner of the 1996 goose...She first lived in NYS and now Ohio..I have bought FEW costumes for her/him...My friends,like Joanne, do that for me...My Mother and I painted her today.. A correction to "the jig is up"..initially i called them on their cell phone when I realized that there was ONE piece missing from the puzzle..Did find it and have the framed "scrub rag" hanging in the spare bathroom..Little did I know that this would be Joanne's last handwork...I treasure it as I treasure her..She keeps my stories cement geese now come in smaller sizes and look sort of sinister to me..They don't smile...Now she needs a new outfit..and she is ready.