SUMMERFIELD — Every Sunday, right before church starts, Paul Scott pulls out his yard art.
Then, he hangs on his front porch, cup of coffee in hand, and watches a traffic jam transpire right there where the town’s historic banners fly.
Stand with him for an hour or so, and you’ll feel like an animal in a zoo.
Folks crawl by in their cars. They go — maybe — 10 mph and stare hard.
Right there, near one of the town’s busiest intersections, are four mannequins watering Scott’s front-yard zinnias. Two male, two female. He calls the females Cindy and Michelle; the males, Obama and McCain.
His mannequins need no introduction. Not in this political year. The male mannequins wear Barack Obama and John McCain masks, and the watering is a little creative. The surgical hoses are in just ... the right ... place.
That’s why some call Scott the “Mannequin Man.”
The display infuriates some. A few weeks back, one dad shot Scott the middle-finger sign of defiance, with his kids in the back seat.
But mostly, people laugh. Some even stop to take a picture, shoot a video or just talk. An older woman did on Sunday. She already had come by once in a van. The second time, she rolled down her window and yelled at Scott on his porch.
“That is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen! I love it!”
“See that?” Scott says, pointing toward the road, his friend Mark Hamby beside him. “We’ve created our own comedy club. The second or third time we put out McCain and Obama, we had that born-again Christian feeling. You know, we were as high as a kite from meeting people.
“We met this one guy from Oak Ridge. He had just lost his job and had been downsized. Anyway, he told me he had been so depressed. But when he saw this, he said, ‘We need this.’ ”
Scott is an eccentric, a practical joker. He’s 47, a longtime bachelor who makes his living restoring chimneys, building yard fountains and working with stone. He loves bluegrass, books and poking fun at most anything established and staid.
His lifestyle mantra? “Live and let live,” he says.
Scott has lived in Summerfield since 1986. He’s tacked the sign “Beware of Attack Neighbor” to a nearby tree, and he’s riled his neighbors in the past with mannequins dressed in thongs, fishnet stockings and work boots.
In July, he took it a step further. He turned his mannequins into political satire. And folks have noticed. Not just in Summerfield. But everywhere.
When CNN ran a story on his front yard display, Scott’s Web site got hits from as far away as Iraq and Ireland. One time, late at night, he got a call from a fan.
In Anchorage, Alaska.
The town has gotten complaints and deputies have dropped by to see if he would take it down. But it’s his property, and it’s his right to say what he thinks.
Right there. In his front yard. Near where the town’s historic banners fly.
Now, he hasn’t decided whether he’ll vote for Obama or McCain. But ask him what he thinks about their campaign, and as the cars crawl by, he doesn’t hesitate.
“Why don’t they tell us what they want to do?” he asked, coffee cup in hand. “Have you seen one ad where they’re not putting each other down?
“It’s sad. Remember after 9-11? Remember how close people were? Now, everyone is looking out for themselves. They’ve stopped working together. We’re all being urinated on.”
Contact Jeri Rowe
at 373-7374 or jeri.rowe