Monkey Boy in the Garden series

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August 2008
Made for Ellie by Dad
Some images missing

The summer after I finished college I went home to live with my parents. They let me turn a huge part of our yard into a garden. I came home from waitressing one night to find a three ring binder on my bed with the title Monkey Boy in the Garden with these images printed out and inside. (I think my dad knows that Monkey Boy is actually Ernie from Sesame Street, but you never can be sure. My dad can remember obscure politicians’ and actors’ names but he reintroduces himself to my friends that he’s known for a decade.)There was no explanation accompanying the binder but it was clear that Monkey Boy was my helper in the garden. He also apparently helped me campaign, as one of the missing images showed Monkey Boy “holding” an Obama poster I had put in the window.

How does one react to such a “gift”? I wasn’t sure. I was touched but also slightly weirded out/amused. This must have taken my dad hours to make, from the time it required to carefully position Monkey Boy for his photo shoot, to the time it took to add captions on Microsoft Paint and assemble it. Oh to be a fly on the wall to see him tip toeing around in the garden. My mom probably watched this from the kitchen window but I think she has become immune to it. I recently went home for the holidays and when we pulled up there was a giant trench dug around part of our house with pieces of plywood and caution tape blocking the area off. I asked my mom what was going on and she absentmindedly said “I don’t know”. I think 30 years of marriage to my father has that effect.

Anyway, I didn’t really know what to say about the Monkey Boy book so I didn’t say anything. At dinner the next day my dad casually asked, “Did you see that book I left on your bed?” to which I responded “yeeesss”, not sure what kind of answer he wanted. His quick response answered my question. “Monkey Boy’s pretty cute, right?”

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