Garden gnome returns home after epic trip, complete with 157-photo scrapbook

27 May 2018 | Culture
Garden gnome returns home after epic trip, complete with 157-photo scrapbook

"We didn't think too much of it. Maybe it was a neighbourhood kid decided to play a prank and take the gnome," Joe Butcher told The Homestretch on Friday.

A year ago, a friendly little garden gnome was pinched from under the spruce tree in the front of Butcher's home.

"We bought it from a craft store and painted it ourselves. It's about eight to 10 inches tall."

Then this week, out of nowhere, a random package showed up on Butcher's driveway.

"I was on my way to work at 6:15 a.m. Wednesday. I was in a rush, running late, and there was a basket on the driveway. That's a little weird. I came home from work and looked at it. I took a closer look, wait a second, that looks like the gnome. What's he doing in there?"

And the gnome wasn't alone. In the care package next to Butcher's gnome was a bar of soap from Vancouver Island, a fridge magnet from the Goats on the Roof tourist stop in Coombs, B.C., another larger gnome and a photo essay.

"There's a photo album with 157 photos of all the travels the gnome went on," Butcher explained.

There were notes in the photo book, explaining the mystery. Sort of.

"Sitting under the spruce tree watching the world go by was very depressing, so I decided to go see the world. I saw a lot of places and made a new friend," Butcher said of the opening narrative.

"He travelled from Alberta to B.C., down to Montana then over to Idaho and back again. Imagine all the things he saw."

The gnome covered a lot of ground in his epic vacation.

"There's pictures of him cuddling kangaroos, him with a buffalo, with a flock of seagulls. There's one of him sitting on a deck chair with solar eclipse glasses in, looking at the eclipse."

Butcher has spent the last couple of days trying to figure out who took the gnome, which is now back under the spruce tree.

"I would say thank you, because over the last couple of days it's been a lot of fun figuring out who could have done this, but what made you choose our gnome. It's nothing out of the ordinary," Butcher said.

"It's almost like a random act of kindness, it has brought a lot of happiness into our family, kind of."