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94-year-old’s yard sculptures bring decades of joy to passersby

ZIONSVILLE, IND. (WISH) — Ernie Taylor and his wife, Dot, lived in a home on State Road 32 for more than 60 years.

Dot died a few years ago, and Ernie now shares all he has with those who drive by. “Stuff can’t make you happy, it just can’t. The the joy that you bring others that brings peace to your life, you know,” Taylor said.

Taylor’s sculptures in his yard have been bringing joy to passing motorists for a very long time. He grew up in the Great Depression. Taylor is now 94 years old and happy with all he has.

“Everybody tells me I need a new truck, I need a new car, I need a new this, a new that. Well, I spend $50,000 on a new truck, look at all the cheeseburgers I could buy,” Taylor said.

Taylor also says he doesn’t really care what anyone else thinks. “You don’t need to live like your neighbors because your neighbors are probably in debt up to their butts.”

He joined the Army at 17 years old. When he got out, he knew he needed to find work. “I thought, when I was a young man, if I could just learn how to weld, I’d really amount to something.”

Ernie says his wife, Dot, didn’t really like to travel much, which left him a lot of time, which he turned into his works of art. “I started out just making birds out of shovels, made an alligator out of files, just various things. There wasn’t no big plan to it, just did a few things and here it is.”

“No big plan” by Taylor turned into hundreds of sculptures he welded out of anything he could find. Don’t ask him if you can buy one of his works of art.

“If I’m making something for a friend, I’m enjoying that, you know? But if I have to make something for money, that’s work, and I made my living working, I don’t want my hobby to be work.”

His hobby took over his 25 acres. He’s taken what people called junk and turned it into a reason for passersby to smile.

It also made his dear wife, Dot, smile.

“She liked it. I’d go in there and say, you know, what’s a butterfly looks like? And she’d say, well, yeah, and I’d say, well, draw me up something, and she would do that and I’d make it.”

Taylor says behind all his work was Dot. She knew how to keep him in check.

“I wanted to build a nice shop to work out of and she said, ‘You don’t need that. All you need to do is get rid of some stuff.’ Well, I didn’t have anything I wanted to get rid of, you know. So, when I made the dinosaurs and everything I worked out of that old chickenhouse.”

Out of that chickenhouse came anything his mind could think up; all for others to enjoy.

“Everything Dot and I did was for the enjoyment of other people. We’ve just made dear friends by sitting here and letting people come in and look. You fight all your life to get rich, and when it’s all said and done it’s your friends is what it’s all about.”

Taylor says he cherishes the people who have stopped by over the years. “There’s a miracle called friendship that dwells within the heart, and you don’t know how it happens and how it gets its start, but the happiness it brings you gives you a special lift, and you realize the happiness it gives you is gods most precious gift.”