The two old men sit next to each other in the showcase that adorns an entire wall in the living room of our home.
Mother brought them back from her travels last month.
"Looking at their amused faces reminds me to be happy," she said the day she gently peeled off the wrapping paper from the velvet box they were ensconced in and placed them tenderly in the showcase.
I don’t think she has given them a second glance since.
They are a funny pair.
All day long they crack jokes and entertain each other, and amuse me whenever I am within earshot.
They often joke about the members of our household. They laugh the most at the antics of Dover, our golden retriever, who tries to leap up and knock them down but they remain out of reach and he goes back to scowling at them from under the sofa.
They are mostly nice to me, sharing their jokes and making me laugh, and sometimes they make fun of me and I end up laughing at myself.
When I recount their conversations to Mother, she says figurines cannot talk.
And I insist that they do, at least these two do.
At first Mother does not argue, but after a few occasions she knits her eyebrows and says she is beginning to worry about me.
And I tell her that she has no cause for worry, especially not if I am happy.
She considers that thought for several moments and finally cautions me to not have make-believe conversations with the figurines anymore, after all I am too old to have imaginary friends, she says.
"Not even if it makes me happy?" I ask.
No, comes the stern reply.
And so I promise her, my fingers crossed behind my back.
When Mother leaves the room, the two old men tell me not to worry about the things she said.
"No harm ever came from being happy," they assure me.