"There’s a dominant cultural attitude that these are the people who see Elvis at the 7-Eleven."

-- Utah State University folklorist Jeannie Thomas speaking about people who make Bathtub Mary's

One of the quirkiest example of "adaptive reuse" is the Bathtub Mary. As the name implies, it's a home-made shrine to The Virgin using an old clawfoot tub. You see many Bathtub Mary's on the front lawns of elderly people of Italian or Portuguese heritage.

You basically take an old clawfoot bathtub, up end it, bury it half way, and fill in the hole. What you're left with is a little arched alcove. You paint the inside of the alcove UN sky blue and then place a statue of The Virgin in the little abode. You plant a lot of flowers and bushes around Mary to complete the shrine.

Alas, many of these elderly people are unaware that their old clawfoot bathtub could be sold to a young yuppie couple for $700, which would go a long way in the poor box serving the needs of the poor 'n' junk.

Be warned, Bathtub Mary's are a natural magnet for pranksters. It's not uncommon to wake up one Sunday morning and find your Bathtub Mary surrounded by a collection of pilfered lawn gnomes, arrayed in front of the Bathtub Mary like so many pint sized ceramic pilgrims.

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