ROSEMONT, Pa. - While most are loading up mulch and seedlings for their gardens, Amy Vanderhei was preparing for a different spring planting Thursday.
"Definitely a unique situation," Amy laughed as she watched a Fromm Electric box truck back down her driveway in Lower Merion Township, Montgomery County.
Thousands tried, but Amy was the one and only lucky winner of the life size Ryan Howard garden gnome raffled off at the Reading Phillies opening day.
"I just about dropped out of my seat," Amy's mom, Katherine Vanderhei, said about the moment her daughter's name was called as the gnome winner.
One week after opening day, the gnome left FirstEnergy Stadium in Reading and headed east.
Neighbors waited anxiously and were not disappointed with their first look at the whimsical side of the Philly's slugger.
After Amy posed with the gnome for a quick photo op, the Ryan Howard lookalike rounded the garage. And the gnome was headed for home.
"It's a brand new garden, centered around him," Katherine explained.
Amy's house is about an hour away from the ballpark. It's a long way for a gnome to roam and pretty far for an R-Phils fan, too.
"I started going to the R-Phils games last year when I was working up at the hospital," Amy explained.
"The Reading Phillies, [I] never even knew they existed until she was working up [in Reading] and told me let's try a game," Katherine said. "And we've loved it ever since."
Now, Amy and her mom have quite a reminder of Reading. The five foot garden gnome sits right outside their backdoor.
"I think he's gorgeous," laughed Katherine.
"We were going to plant a tree," Amy explained. "But I think a gnome is better."
Allentown, PA 18102