Friday, June 13, 2003

Lawn ornament is globe-trotter



By Jeremy W. Steele
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[IMAGE] Matt Burnett, 11, and his father, Tom, were amused by the postcards they received from their lawn ornament.
(Tony Jones photo)
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LEBANON - It's still not clear exactly how "L.O." hopped a flight to Europe.

But owners Tom and Erica Burnett know the rascally rabbit had help.

L.O. sent a note home nearly every week, complete with his picture at the Eiffel Tower, British Prime Minister Tony Blair's home and numerous other European landmarks.

Oh, and one other thing about L.O.: He's a 10-pound concrete lawn ornament.

"Going through Customs or anytime going through the airport, you figure he had to get a lot of looks," Tom Burnett said of the mystery rabbit-napper.

[IMAGE] The lawn ornament visits Stonehenge in England during his European tour.
| ZOOM |
Although L.O. - short for Lawn Ornament - returned from his adventures on Easter, the Burnetts still don't know who whisked their bunny away on a cold January morning. The only tip they've received is that the culprit was a college student.

The couple got the first clue in a message left behind to "Mom and Dad" - "I've decided that I'm tired of looking at the same yard day in and day out," the inanimate critter allegedly wrote.

The prank is a variation of the "roaming gnome" gag, named for the garden gnomes usually abducted. But there are no gnomes in the Miller's Crossing subdivision, where the Burnetts thought their 11/2-foot-tall rabbit would exist peacefully among the shrubs and flowers along their front porch.

L.O. went out into the world, however. Among the places visited: Stratford-upon-Avon, London and Stonehenge in England; Edinburgh, Scotland; Munich, Germany; Salzburg, Austria; Budapest, Hungary; Venice, Italy; and Paris.

The gag went on for three months, providing fodder for family gatherings and giving the Burnetts' 11-year-old son, Matthew, a steady supply of new material to show at school.

Now that L.O. is home, he's instructed his family - via letter, of course - to return him to the yard.

E-mail jsteele@enquirer.com




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