Laura Wiens, The Triplicate

Ah, the power of the written word.

When a treasured pelican statue was stolen from Carol Blount's front yard in Smith River recently, she picked up a pen and wrote a letter to the editor, hoping to admonish the perpetrator.

"I just want the person or persons who stole it to know that I forgive them, as I am sure they must have really loved it if they were willing to break one of God's 10 commandments, 'Thou shalt not steal,' in order to obtain it," she wrote in a letter published Feb. 22 in the Triplicate ("Valued pelican statue stolen from driveway").

The weighty, two-and-a-half-foot-tall, solid concrete pelican stood in her front yard for 25 years, a house-warming gift from her late husband, Jay, who bought it for her when they relocated to the area from Sacramento.

"It was the first furnishing that we had," said Carol.

Being cooped up inside after four days of rain, she's not sure exactly when the statue was taken, but she did remember a recent evening when her dog, Pooh, an 11-year-old poodle/Lhasa Apso mix, began barking at a noise outside.

Pooh's not normally a barker.

"I told him to hush," she said, "and that was probably when they were up to no good."

It would be great to report that the perpetrator was moved to voluntarily return the pelican. That's not the case, but there's still a happy ending thanks to the letter.

A woman who had read it was out walking her dog when she spotted the statue in a ditch, about a quarter-mile from Carol's house.

Recognizing the letter-writer's unusual last name etched on a plaque at the end of Carol's driveway, the woman knew where to find its rightful owner.

She told Carol she'd discovered the statue in a ditch and that she'd ask a friend to retrieve it for her.

The pelican now roosts on her back patio, where she "can see him more now." His rescuers were rewarded with a homemade berry pie fresh from Carol's oven.

As for Pooh, "Next time I won't be telling him to hush," she said.