Tim Ryan, at right, and his innovative creative consultant.

The holiday season usually serves up plenty of feel-good fodder, but few things can get us through the seemingly never-ending tumult – Omicron, seriously? – as unrelenting artistic creativity.

Lucky for us, longtime Mill Valley resident Tim Ryan has creativity in spades. He’s been a parent volunteer, the force behind the construction of the gorgeously renovated Edna Maguire Elementary School, multi-Mountain Play performer and a Memorial Day Parade float creator, among much more.

Thankfully for Homestead Valley residents and art lovers, Ryan also has plenty of stamina and patience. He’s the creator and unbridled keeper of The Fork, a 9-foot, wooden, laminated and painted metallic silver, well, fork that marks the decisive moment when you either continue traveling on Montford Ave. or veer towards Janes Street.

Ryan has had to manage more turbulence than you’d expect from a gigantic utensil.

First the fork drew criticism from the bowels of the Internet, with one calling it “an affront to the green beauty of this area … cute for a while, but that minute has passed.” Then it was the subject of complaints via social media that it “might pose a hazard,” which made their way to City Hall, sending the tool to the city’s corp yard near the sewage plant.

Last month, someone hopped out of their car and wrote “F**k this Fork” with a Sharpie. “To think someone is in such distress that the mere site of a giant fork in the road drives them to insults,” Ryan wrote on Nextdoor. “If your actions were actually amorous, then she wanted you to know that she’s in a committed relationship with the Montford Knife.”

Now he’s created the Santa Fork, at the video on the left and in photos up top, replete with beard curls and all, drawing yet another round of raves: “You are a treasure, Tim! Many thanks for the smiles,” one wrote, and “thank you for uplifting it with your playfulness,” another chimed in.

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