I'd Love to Be a Scarecrow Only for One Day
Ladies, Gentlemen, and Friends . . .
The Super-Talented Ray Bolger
More Ray Bolger and scarecrow scenes
WRITER'S NOTE: This piece is in loving memory of my favorite actor and dancer, Mr. Ray Bolger, born January 10, 1904 and left us on January 15, 1987, who played the "scarecrow" in The Wizard of Oz. Thanks, Ray, for all of the great memories. Sorry that this was so long in coming. (Kenneth).
I would love to be a scarecrow if only for one day. I don't know why I haven't already written about this very-personal confession. I know why. I was ashamed. I was ashamed that you might laugh at me wanting to be "the" lowest image of life in the world. Besides a statue.
Statues are fine, but they lack soul. Or that certain personality. I do not have anything against any statue, it's just that being a scarecrow appeals to me more.
I ask you with a serious heart, "can you tell me of one single thing in our world that "has it made" more than a scarecrow?" Don't try. You can't. Since the inspiration of this story, I've bombarded my imagination to try and locate just one thing that has the easiest, most-pleasant, and colorful job created by mortal man. And failed. Fell flat on my face.
And even now, with my carefully-worded, sensitive confession now in public for your inspection, you are probably coming out of the shock produced by my startling dream and still asking your wife or husband, "has Kenneth really went over the edge with this wanting to be a scarecrow business?"
No. That was an easy question to answer. And to be honest with you. In my searching of memories, past and present, I have always been amazed by scarecrows. I've even made one or two when I was around eleven years of age. Yep. Used my dad's worn-out work clothes for "Bobo's" wardrobe, and he looked sharp standing at the end of our garden standing guard over our produce that included corn, against his sworn enemies, the crow.
"Bobo" did what he could, but one day I viewed a couple of crows laughing to themselves as they were down in the garden eating the seed that would give us this tasty item: corn, an American mealtime favorite. "Bobo," had a sad look on his face that I drew with a Magic Marker for he knew he had failed. But I forgave him and ran the "crow thieves," out of our garden. I didn't blame "Bobo," for after all, he was only one scarecrow and scarecrows aren't Superman.
How I created "Bobo," was actually remedial. I took one long piece of wood that I used for his body. Then used two shorter pieces of wood for his outstretched arms and two longer pieces of wood for his legs. A few nails here and there and with the wardrobe I had chosen, "Bobo" came alive in no time. I remember standing back with a smile of accomplishment on my young face. I should have yelled, "it's alive! It's alive," like those early classic "Dr. Frankenstein" movies, but I didn't. "Bobo," was not one for vain glory.
Why am I so fascinated with being a scarecrow if only for one day? Well I can tell you in this list that I complied over a cup of black coffee.
1. It's not illegal for a human to dream of being a scarecrow. Actually, this is a sane dream. But if I dreamed of being a chainsaw, but only the McCullough brand, that would be rather edgy and considered silly, don't you think. Besides a chainsaw is used like a lowly brute as it is pushed to the limit in all kind of weather and terrain. No thanks. Someone else can have the bruises, scratched paint, and broken chains.
2. Being a scarecrow says to the world, "I am a special part of America, and I am proud to stand here to make sure your gardens are not eaten by my enemies and yours, the two-faced crows." "Who thought that Mother Nature would make such a fowl? She already had raccoons to steal things from campers.
3. There is absolutely no manual labor in being a scarecrow. The only possible danger is a thunderstorm with violent winds that can reach 70 miles per hour. But if "my" designer uses common sense and builds me with sturdy lumber and plants me deep in the ground, well I can stand there all day getting wet, pounded by hailstones and take the strongest lightning bolt provided that "my" owner has placed a copper wire from my backside into the ground as a lightning "rod." But sadly, there aren't many scarecrow builders with that level of intelligence.
4. It's only natural to drive by a farmer's field or garden and see a scarecrow on duty. Now those fake scarecrows such as a tin pie plate tied with strings to sticks in the ground, those are poor excuses for a scarecrow. No bird or animal is closely fearful of those flimsy devices that actually attract more crows than keep them at bay. People who study nature can tell you that crows love shiny objects and the last time I checked, aluminum is a shiny object when the sun reflects on its surface. Nothing can be a professional scarecrow when it comes to keeping a field or garden safe.
Here are some interesting facts about building a successful scarecrow. Use an old basketball and cover it with white cloth where you can design its scary face with a black or red market. Or a huge gourd. Those are perfect with a white cloth and a face glaring at any rabbit, crow, or deer who would be dumb enough to venture into the garden to dine on the fresh vegetables. Never use a pumpkin for the head of a scarecrow. Pumpkins are too heavy and can be blown free of the scarecrow's body way too easily. And above all, please do not use a Jack O' Lantern for a scarecrow's head unless you want to make numerous trips back and forth to keep the candle in the pumpkin burning.
I can say with full-confidence that the world's most famous scarecrow was the talented dancer, actor, Ray Bolger who starred with Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz, but the screenwriter didn't put "scarecrow" in a good light. The scarecrow was mentally-challenged and said he didn't have a brain. Well as the movie progressed, he had several sensible thoughts. Not the sign of someone without a brain.
And another complaint I have for The Wizard of Oz is that all of the central characters, Dorothy, her uncle Henry and auntie Em, Mrs. Gulch, the wicked school teacher, hired hands: Hunk, Zeke and Hickory and Professor Marvel, the travelling fortune teller all had names. Even the dog, Toto, had a name, but not scarecrow, tin man and the cowardly lion. What was the problem in them having names? They stuck with Dorothy the longest. I always cringe with this American film classic airs every year and I think that a lowly dog gets a name and higher billing than my personal favorite, the scarecrow.
There is something magical, even romantic, about being a scarecrow. No, this isn't the only reason, but it helps with my presentation. In some movies, a girl being "chased" by a would-be suitor always "uses" a scarecrow, if she is a farm girl, to make her suitor a bit jealous as she says, "My steady fella is 'Doofus,' our scarecrow. He has been in my life for years," and then the girl, probably named, "Velma," and her beau, "Zebb," both laugh and kiss passionately in the presence of "Doofus." Now that I think of it. That is pretty doggone low to "use" a family staple like the scarecrow that has helped to keep "Velma" and her self-serving family fed for years. As you can see by now, I love scarecrows and cannot stand for them to be used as romantic play things.
And while I am venting. Stan Lee, creator, artist and writer for the legendary Marvel Comics, used a character named, "Scarecrow," who was, of course, an evil creature who shot poison gas out of his hands as he fought Spider-man. Maybe it was Daredevil. Who cares? Scarecrows are not evil, Mr. Lee. Or was the reason you created "Scarecrow" as evil was due to a bad experience you had with a scarecrow as a child? And to add further insult, you only used "Scarecrow," once or twice. Then killed him off, but oh how intelligent, keeping The Green Goblin or Sandman around. Yeah, man. What great creativity that was, Mr. Lee.
Oh well. Such are the dreams of a dreamer such as "I," to long for the day that by some fluke of nature, I am zapped while I am sleeping in my nice warm bed to being hung on a pole in someone's garden or wheat field to live one day as a scarecrow which means no coffee, food, computer, HubPages friends, or any of the real life pleasures you and I enjoy.s
Just "hanging around" day and night and being taken for granted by my selfish owners. And when harvest time is over, I am discarded along with the pea shells, corn shucks, watermelon rinds, and wrinkled pumpkins.
On second thought, I'd love to be a gold bracelet. And live out my days on the silken arm of a lovely woman who would keep me with her always.
And Ray, if you are looking down, I hope that "thinking" makes you proud.