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Gnomeman’s land

BEST OF JEFF SERIES
By JEFF KLINKENBERG, Published February 19, 2006

Solomon’s Castle, sometimes called Florida’s real Magic Kingdom, rises from a swamp in the middle of Hardee County nowhere. In the castle are many gnomes. They are pointy-headed gnomes carved out of wood. A man’s gnome is in his castle.

You ought to hear Howard Solomon talk about his gnomes. He goes on about them like a Borscht Belt comedian.

“I have made so many gnomes that I’ve learned their language. It’s called gnomenclature. If you give them a feather it’s a gnome de plume. If you put them on the stove it’s a gnome on the range. If you put them on a piano it’s a metrognome.”

What do you call a gnome on a chair?

“A suppository.”

Solomon is a little gnomish himself. He is about 5 feet 5 and weighs 120 pounds when he is wet from a soaking in the moat. He wears a sailor’s cap upside down, and when it is dark as a dungeon in the bell tower his head appears a little pointy. He is somewhat wrinkled at 71. His chin hair, bristling like a shaving brush, prompts the question: Anyone seen Dr. Seuss lately?

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