Well, it's not really the Year of the Owl. In fact, if you follow Chinese astrology, it's the Year of the Monkey, and I'm pretty sure there is no such thing as the Year of the Owl. But we aren't in China, and in my own little world, it may as well be the Year of the Owl. Let me explain.
This year for Christmas, we decided we were no longer going to exchange adult gifts in our family. So I was beyond surprised when my father-in-law dragged in box after box of big heavy gifts, each wrapped just the same and all addressed to me. What in the world?!?! As I started to raise an eyebrow, he started to explain. Apparently, it's been YEARS (like since before I was part of this family) since they have done this (but decided to revive the tradition with me)- the grand tradition of the over-the-top gag gift. So as I faced these huge boxes with this new explanation, I really started to worry. Each box was wrapped in owl paper. Now I've never made any bones about it. I do love owls, and have for a long time. It seems the rest of the world caught up several years ago, but I'm an owl lover from way back. In any case, apparently I'm not the only long-time owl lover out there.
As I opened my first box, I could see what I had there. Apparently, I was now the owner of someone else's COMPLETE lifetime collection of owl statues. I'm not kidding, and I can barely describe the expanse of what that means. My fearless father-in-law is a long time junker. He comes up with some good stuff, no doubt about it. But this was supposed to be a gag gift, remember? It was mostly humongous statues of realistic and scary looking owls- I'm talking wings spread, talons unfurled, scary stuff- the likes of which I hope to never see again.
Here I am on Christmas Day with my stacks of owl boxes and (a rather tame) example of what was inside.
Everyone assured me that this was just a joke, and I should immediately just haul all these boxes to the trash or to Goodwill, but I was determined to go through each owl and see what I had there. Now that we are into the new year, I've finally had time to take on that task and I've been pleasantly surprised with a few of my findings.
This is hands down my favorite. This mug is double sided. The same lazy owl face appears on both sides. It needs a good cleaning, but if this was all I found out of all those boxes, I would have been more than over the moon. I love him!
But take a look at these beauties. Weather owls! It's a little tough to read, but the owl on the left reads "Weather Forecaster" on the books and the one of the right reads "Weather Owl". Of course, these are mine, mine, mine.
And then I found this little cutie just calling out to me. It's the sign that he's holding that did it for me. "Please don't smoke. It's not wise." Do they even make things like this now? I seriously doubt it. I'm in love.
As you can see, the owls I have chosen to rescue are all of the cartoony variety. Here are three other sweeties that I couldn't send away. They are small. I'd say each one is about 3 inches tall.
Oh, but Harris Sisters always stick together. Even though I know Harris Sister Misty doesn't love owls in the same way that I do, I still couldn't resist holding these out for her. They are both bells (something that Mama collected), and both are from the Great Smoky Mountains. They are kitschy looking. To me, they appear to be from the 1970s. And Misty, they are all yours!
And for Harris Sister Donna, who loves Halloween, these are for you. Owls and Halloween just go together and the color of all these are perfect for that time for year. The yellow one on the right is actually a bank. And even though the orange one in the middle looks a little scary in this photo, I think it's actually my favorite one of the three.
As it happened, there turned out to be a couple of non-owl items that made their way into the boxes. This little cup was sweet, and obviously old, but I probably wouldn't have given it more than a second look.
UNTIL.... I turned it over. On the bottom was a handwritten note that reads "Aunt Myrtle and Uncle Guss Baker and family were leaving for California. They picked apples and other fruit and paid their way through. Aunt Myrtle bought this for me when I was 3 years- 1918." Alrighty, that dates this cup to nearly 100 years old. It also dates the owner of this collection, and makes me very happy to be a part of the story. I am without a doubt keeping this special cup.
And finally, in the entire collection, there was one Christmas ornament. It's small and I could have easily missed it, but I'm glad I didn't. Of course, it's three owls- Mama, Daddy, and Baby- just like us. I'm saving it for next year's Christmas tree- to remember the year of owl.