The study of neighbors through their lawn ornaments....
Figure 29. Civic Center: Invasion of the giant poblano pod
The most uncommon lawn ornament is the oversized food sculpture. The days when Big Boy and Papa Burger could be seen shoulder-pressing their massive fiberglass whoppers from atop drive-in carport awnings are long gone. Today, only the occasional Dairy Queen can be seen equipped with a lighted ice cream cone to mark her drive-thru entrance. Outside of the dwindling commercial use of molded plastic, it is even more rare to see an oversized food item hand carved from the trunk of a tree. After long and careful inspection, and considering its location next to the patio of a popular eatery, it has been determined that the yard art pictured in the top left corner of figure 29 is a giant deep-fried chile relleno captured at the moment just before smothering.
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The placement of the hand-carved poblano at the crest of the hill overlooking a menagerie of cuddly cuteness suggests that the eatery is owned by a single family, and that their comfortable lives are sometimes overwhelmed by the food business. That none of the adorable woodland creatures is looking toward the chile relleno intimates that these troubles do not affect the customer's dining experience. The haphazard placement of stones indicates that this tableau was created between the lunch and dinner rush by kitchen help, rather than by professional landscapers. The placement of a mushroom at the front of the display hints at the success and longevity of the establishment.