Maybe Cleo has jumped over the moon. More likely, she is simply decorating someone's rec room. In any case, she hasn't returned, and Whendi Farris is getting more lonesome by the day.
Whendi is a serious cow collector. No, not the kind that give milk. Whendi collects cow placemats, cow trivets, cow knickknacks, any artistic representation of any cow. "I've always loved them," she said. "Such gentle creatures."
But Cleo was the cow de resistance. She was a $300 sculpture, made of cement, about the size of a large calf. Whendi obtained Cleo from a Maryland contractor last April to commemorate the tenth anniversary of her recovery from brain cancer. Cleo was immediately assigned a place of honor: the side yard of the Farris home on Old Glebe Road in Arlington.
Until late August, Cleo gazed out at the passing traffic -- and the traffic often gazed back, with wide eyes. It's not every day you drive through a placid suburban neighborhood and see a life-size figure of a black and white cow with bright pink udders. Nor does your garden-variety garden sculpture weigh 800 pounds.
Given her weight, Whendi never expected Cleo to up and disappear. But that's exactly what happened at about 2:30 a.m. on Aug. 24.
Whendi's neighbors told police the next day that they had heard several voices in Whendi's garden, grunting heavily. But the neighbors didn't bother to call 911. When Whendi stepped outside after breakfast to see how her flowers were doing, she realized she was Cleoless.
The police say they have no clues and no suspects. Whendi figures the heist for a fraternity prank. She asks the pilferers to return Cleo, in the spirit of bovine gentleness. No questions will be asked, and there's a $100 reward. Whendi's phone number is 532-5378.
What if her pleas go unheeded? "We'll get another one," Whendi Farris says. "And this one we'll anchor."
The Human Bulletin Board is about to start a new list.
About a year ago, I appointed myself the H.B.B. out of annoyance, and out of necessity. Annoyance because so many local charitable agencies will not pick up large appliances, even if the machines are in perfectly good working order. Necessity because these machines were being abandoned or junked until I stepped in.
What I did was to offer my services as a middleman. If a reader was moving, or redecorating, or had gotten sick of Aunt Gertrude's funky old piano, I would take down and keep on hand all the appropriate information. In the meantime, needy readers (and the agencies that represent them) would call and obtain a copy of Levey's list. The result was that large, still-useful items found a new and grateful home.
The system has worked so well that I've placed all the items on my first-year list. So we need to compile another.
If you have a large item, and you're trying to give it away, call me at 334-7276 and "register" it. If you're seeking a major piece of equipment (our typical inventory includes washers, dryers, refrigerator/freezers, pianos, computers and office furniture), call the same number, and I'll mail you a copy of my list.
When I call an item "large," I mean that it's too big to be lifted and carried by one average-sized adult. As a result, I won't handle dining room chairs, table-model TV sets, art, bedding or anything in that ballpark.
Other disclaimers: I can't arrange transportation, provide heavily-muscled lifters, vouch for the condition of goods or take responsibility (legal or otherwise) for mishaps. Nor will I handle goods that need substantial repair, or goods that are for sale.
With that, we open the doors for List Number Two. Please call, whether you're an offerer or a seeker. We placed more than 500 items through List Number One. I'd like to do a lot better this time around.
Crown Books was offering a special promotion: $7 off if you purchase $20 worth of books or more. This sounded pretty good to Cary Kauffman of Wheaton, especially since she wanted the newly-revised standard version of the Bible, published by the National Council of Churches.
So Cary called to see if the book was in stock. The conversation turned out to be a classic.
Cary: "Do you have a copy of the new, revised standard version of the Bible?"
Clerk: "Who's the author?"
Jim Fellows of Northwest Washington says today's lovers are asking an old question in a new way. The form for the '90s:
"Was it as safe for you as it was for me?"