July 9, 2016

How I came to know of Rov McManus

According to Andy Warhol, everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes. Rove McManus gets an extra minute from me, although apparently in Australia he has had lots of those minutes.

It is vacation time and this summer we decided to opt for a post-publishing stay-cation. Following the release of my latest novel, Snake Oil, my husband and I were ready to hide away and catch our breath. Rather than hitting the hot summer road, we instead caught a movie, tried a new restaurant, enjoyed dinner at home with friends and, my favorite, took a romantic ride out to Adamstown, Pa, one of the antique capitals of America. I love antiquing and over time we have nearly perfected a system for scanning our favorite shops along a stretch of farmland a convenient hour or so away. There are shops with oodles of vintage jewelry behind glass and sellers with giant antique mermaid fountains that stand twenty feet tall. My favorites are those vendors that have their collectibles tucked into booths a bit willy-nilly, filled with hidden treasures that beg to be brought back to life and loved once again. In one of those places, I found the crab.

I put him on the stove for perspective. If I never cooked he might be living there still.

The delightful critter is a fantastic two feet wide, welded sheet metal, sharp-edged and enchanting, shiny, red crustacean and I had to have him! At home, over my stove, where the boring, white wainscoting awaits adornment, over the gleaming red knobs and handles of my stove, there was simply nothing that fit quite perfectly on the wall to inspire my cooking. That is until I found this captivating big metal crab. My husband smiled when I began to describe my vision of the hardened steel sea creature artfully poised above the stove, creatively displayed and begging guests to gasp and mutter, “Look at that crab!” I explained that the red metal beast gave me vision and inspiration and my darling mate freed him from the tangle of other metal contraptions, roosters and tin flamingos and such, and carried him cautiously to the counter.

My crabby vision realized.

A colorful gentleman greeted us and since I suspect we looked like a couple of rather silly tourists, proceeded to tell us a very far-fetched and barely believable story about how Mexican Indians, who hate to be called Mexicans, built these works of art out of abandoned petroleum drums on the oil fields of Mexico. We listened, somewhat attentively, right up until he told us that some of the works of art have bullet holes in them from oil raiders or some such thing, thanked him for the history lesson and then took the crab and tucked him away in the trunk. We discussed in the car that the salesman was very likely full of bologna, but part of the experience nonetheless and headed home.

Don't tell me I have plenty of stuff in my kitchen already! See how he belongs there?

I planned and plotted across every mile back home how we might mount the tin beast above the stove and we came to the conclusion that said metal crab needed a name. My husband suggested Poncho Villa, based on the supposed Mexican connection. We spent our ride home trying to recall famous crabbers or even lobstermen, then famed fishermen, then famous crabs in literature. With some help from Siri on my iPhone we discovered that sadly there are not many famous crustaceans to be found. We learned things about Ernest Hemingway and his love of fishing and about some legendary and terrifying Spanish banditos, but the right title did not emerge. That was until Pat asked if the crabs in the film Finding Nemo had names. Those two colorful characters that are guarding the bubbling sewer pipe and yelling, “Hey, hey!” to every fish that swims by, do not appear to have been called anything but crabs. But, behind every cartoon is a voice that makes the character come alive, that man, whose, “Hey, hey”, helps us to know the greedy and protective little crabs that are too busy enjoying their “manna from heaven”, to help Nemo much at all. That sound is the voice of Rov McManus. Apparently, he is a celebrity in Australia and I are sure he works hard to maintain his popularity. But now, Mr. McManus is much more. I’m sure he would be honored, should he stumble across my blog while living his famous life down under, to know of this fame. He ought to be because now he is well-known enough to have an awesome, big, metal crab named after him. And every time I look at the wall in my kitchen, over my stove, I will smile and say, “Hey, hey” to my new friend, Rov McManus, a breathtaking work of art and huge metal crab. 

 Meet Rov McManus!

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