We had a St. Francis statue that watched over our petite front yard. He hung out with his bird and rabbit between the rosemary and lavender. It was last Halloween — our first Halloween in the house — that I returned from the grocery store in the morning to find St. Francis holding his head in his water basin. Truly baffled by this sight, I ran over to, well, help him. [What? It seemed like the right thing to do.] When I lifted his head from its resting place, the rest of his body collapsed into pieces. My brain raced through a few Halloween conspiracy theories, but it occurred to me that St. Francis was not in his normal spot. He was to the left of the rosemary instead of the right. Ah-ha! George! George the Flippin’ Handyman. George the Flippin’ Handyman who had done more harm than good the day before. After a surprisingly brief interrogation, George confessed. He had knocked Francis over while he power-washed the sidewalk. [George had a new power washer and was determined, despite my protests, to power wash everything I owned. As a result, my water bill tripled for the month of October.] George must have been hoping for divine intervention when he precariously placed St. Francis back together.
So now I was left with a St. Francis in pieces. My husband had bought the statue for me as a gift. When we put it out amongst the rosemary, it had been the first thing that designated the house was now ours. St. Francis had helped me fight the Alien Potato Weed [oh, that’s another story], fire ants and the weird prickly bush that seemed to poke me even when I was across the yard from it. We had been in the garden foxhole together and one of us didn’t make it out. I felt an obligation to him.
Repairing St. Francis was futile. He had too many cracks and he was made from a form of plastic that apparently repelled glue. But I couldn’t throw him in the trash — that just seemed wrong. So he has sat on the porch in pieces since October. But, let’s face it, there’s no dignity in being in pieces on the porch.
Today I decided it was time to let St. Francis go. I sat on the porch swing and stared at him for a while, hoping an idea would come to mind. It didn’t. I researched the proper disposal of religious items. I only received a partial answer. The Catholic Church has no opinion on the matter since the statue was not blessed by a priest. I could toss him or bury him. So I did both. I had a gift box I was going to recycle so I wrapped him up and put him inside. Then I placed the box in the bin. St. Francis, a saint who exemplified simplicity and humility, wouldn’t mind. In fact, he probably thought even that was too elaborate.