One flamingo’s perspective

Community Covenant Church

The life of a lawn ornament isn’t for everyone, but I knew my options were limited when I was cut from the staff of SeaWorld Orlando last June. Who knew they frowned upon dive bombing tourists? I mean, I never saw anything about that in the employee handbook.

Anyway, flamingos can’t be choosers, so I took a gig as a yard decoration and soon found myself rattling around in a box on my way to Community Covenant Church in Eagle River, Alaska. Yep…Alaska.

I honestly didn’t know what to expect, and assumed I’d have a cushy job in some climate-controlled greenhouse, but as I listened to a kind of loud and slightly hyper youth volunteer talk to the church’s high schoolers, I soon learned I was going to be a pawn in the youth group’s fundraiser to attend a conference in Knoxville, Tenn., called CHIC.

Apparently, the students were going to team up to place me and about 16 other hapless flamingos in the yards of area residents, who would in turn make a donation of their choosing to have us placed in front of their friends’ houses. Those friends would then “flamingo” their friends, who would “flamingo” their friends, and so on, until paying us flamingos forward was no longer happening. It sounded like insanity to me, but I guess it’s been working, because the students raised $950 in their first week. Take it from a flamingo that’s paid in shrimp, that’s nothing to shake a tail feather at.

I was somewhat hesitant about the whole thing, though, especially when the high schoolers started asking questions about whether or not they could staple things to us or put items through us to make us more humorous. You seriously have no idea how relieved I was to hear the youth leader say the students should consider how Jesus would put a flamingo in someone’s yard in support of a fundraiser.

I have to tell you, I seriously have no idea who this Jesus guy is, but the youth leader said He’s someone who is wholly God, but also knows what it’s like to be wholly human. Since He knows what it’s like to be human, but was perfect as God, He has to know what it’s like to find humor in something without making a joke at someone’s expense or by making anyone uncomfortable. So, she basically told them to “flamingo” others as Jesus would.

The students went out last week and started placing us in yards all over town, which was kind of an adventure. I had no idea where I would end up, but did discover some things over the past few days that I couldn’t have anticipated.

Like, not all snow is soft, so it takes ingenuity to place me in yards. Some students put me in flower boxes, others in deep snow that was ridiculously cold. One just hung me in the handle of Kim Cannamore’s car in the CCC parking lot.

I also learned the adults of the CCC community are pretty awesome, one of whom actually fitted me with a knitted sweater and a hat to keep me warm. I mean, I may be made of plastic, but it’s thin plastic, so I get just as chilly as anything else that’s left outside in the cold, Alaskan night. Apparently, the whole “if it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for them, so bring them in” thing only applies to living, breathing flamingos and pets, although Paul Callaway was decent enough to bring me inside to take a picture with me. That was nice. Also, Larry Wood warmed me up briefly by posing for a picture with me in his front yard. I guess that’s something.

If you want to warm my heart and soul, and maybe even help out the high schoolers by getting flamingoed so you can flamingo a friend, you should e-mail I can’t guarantee you’ll get me to hang out in your yard, but some flamingo will indeed show up, probably when you least expect it.
Another update from a fellow flamingo will be featured in eNews and on the CCC website next week to provide feedback from another fowl friend that’s making the rounds locally as well. If writing isn’t your thing, I’d encourage you to read the fine print of your next employment agreement. I guess we all have to take turns at this whole flamingoed fundraiser update thing to let people know how things are going. Next week will feature the story of a whole different flamingo with an entirely different perspective on getting flamingoed, so be sure to check it out.

Until then, be on the lookout for me and my coworkers in area yards. Who knows, the next house we end up at could be yours.