The Bigfoot trilogy: Barbara’s secret garden


Steve Whitford

If you happen to know where to look, there’s a place on Herron Hill that’s been touched by magic. It’s a place where art and imagination meet. It’s also the home of Clifford and Barbara Godbey, where they have lived the past 10years.

Barbara married Clifford when she was just 18 years old. She’s been an art collector ever since, about 46 years. Godbey is moved by a mysterious calling for old things, bold things and odd items that speak to her. She arranges each item, making her yard a virtual collage of inanimate art.

Following along her fence there’s an ever changing assortment of stuff, choreographed to fit together.

In one area there’s a diminutive doll house, apparently occupied by a gnome. A witch’s earthly remains are stuck to the tree, she failed to dodge on her ill-fated flight.

Nearby sits the glass cover from an old street light; a silent sentinel from the past. The next scene sports a rusted pot-belly stove and a large wooden cask; its middle open to reveal a large porcelain angel.

Next to a sundial sits a large wooden display cart, sporting large wooden wagon wheels. The cart was originally used to display some ancient grocer’s wares. Now it’s festooned with all manner of bric-a-brac; next to that is a two-foot-high cement bishop from someone’s huge outdoor chess set.

There’s a weather vane and numerous farm tools in varying states of decay.

“I don’t fix things up, I just allow nature to do what it does to things over time,” Godbey said with a smile. The center piece is a gigantic blue hand that’s big enough to sit in the palm. Godbey got it from a now gone store known as Stewarts Meats. All hands available oddly enough were right hand only. In this kingdom a large fat frog prince sits complete his with a crown and holds court.

The next area is dedicated to times and things gone by. There’s an old wood cook stove and oven adorned with pans and glassware from the era.

“My art is a work in progress and will never be complete,” Godbey said.

Behind her house is where she keeps surplus items that she hasn’t found the right spot for yet. Things like a full-size ceramic deer, statue heads, wagon wheels, bird baths and a veritable cornucopia of stuff.

Godbey’s two-acre ranch is covered with so many things of interest it would be impossible to list or remember them all. She finds her treasures everywhere, dumped along the road, in the trash and of course garage sales.

“I always know how to get a good bargain,” she stated testily, and every one of her keepsakes comes with its own unique story. If all her stories were published they would fill volumes. Even her plants and flowers were found on the clearance pile.

There’s little doubt that on special nights at special times her secret grounds are visited by local spirits and forest folk. One last item not to be overlooked is the star of Godbey’s secret show. He stands majestically in the center of her front yard. His name is Bob and he’s a Bigfoot.