Find Scrun­cheon and Tou­ton 2

The Compass - - OPINION - Harold N. Walters

“Pop,” said our tallest grand­daugh­ter, push­ing her grand­mother’s—yes, her grand­mother’s—iPad into my hand. “In­stall the Where’s Waldo app, p-le-e-e-ease.”

Grand­daugh­ter had be­come bored with An­gry Birds and Tap the Frog and was beg­ging for a new dig­i­tal chal­lenge. Cir­cum­stances, how­ever, caused me to refuse her pleas.

“No more iPad to­day,” I said, show­ing her what had just ar­rived in the mail. “Here’s some­thing bet­ter.”

As only a de­nied child can do, grand­daugh­ter looked askance at the book I held. “A book?” “Have a look. It’ll be fun.” Five min­utes later Granny’s iPad was for­got­ten. Grand­daugh­ter and I were spread out on the car­pet and Find­ing Scrun­cheon and Tou­ton 2 [Tuck­amore Books] was open in front of us.

Yes, those two pups—the cre­ations of Nancy and Lau­rel Keat­ing—are romp­ing again, los­ing them­selves among crowds in pub­lic places. Well, mostly pub­lic places. Scrun­cheon does make an ap­pear­ance in Nanny’s At­tic.

Firstly though, Scrun­cheon, a New­found­land dog, is part of an ex­pe­di­tion to a Bird Sanc­tu­ary, where puffins eat fishes— capelin?—and gulls gob­ble French fries and one wears an ossieegg hat. By the looks of it, the sanc­tu­ary isn’t the Cape St. Mary’s Bird Rock with which I’m fa­mil­iar. But, as it has been my ex­pe­ri­ence at the cape, oddly none of the fly­ing birds are go­ing whoop­sie on vis­i­tors’ nog­gins.

Tou­ton’s first ram­ble is in His­toric Down­town. It’s au­tumn. Leaves have fallen and a Hal­loween ghost peers from a sec­ond story win­dow. In an­other win­dow a granny with her hair tied in a bun talks to her par­rot—no iPad or Scrun­cheon and Tou­ton for her en­ter­tain­ment, poor soul.

At the Flea Mar­ket (One man’s rub­bish is an­other man’s trea­sure) one might find any­thing, from an ugly stick to a magic wand.

I spot­ted a set—pair?—of bongo drums that…well, that drummed up mem­o­ries of an­cient times, pre-hip­pies days when I fan­cied I could be a beat­nik. Yeah, daddy-o, a beat­nik beat­ing on his bon­gos. At the Botan­i­cal Gar­dens, Tou­ton is sniff­ing a but­ter­fly, un­aware of the frus­trated crow con­niv­ing a way to rob the grapes ripen­ing inside the green­house.

Said crow, un­like the ones that pecked holes in the roof of my plas­tic green­house and stole my grapes, is— goody!—foiled.

Down on the Water­front Scrun­cheon plays “paw” with a yel­low-haired girl and in a res­tau­rant win­dow where he is strapped into a high­chair, a baby boy is puttin’ ‘er up.

There’s some­thing about a baby wail­ing in­dig­nantly in a pub­lic place that warms the cock­les—what­ever they are—of my heart. There are times when I’m un­hap­pily trapped in such places that I wish I had the gump­tion to wail out my woes.

At the Kite Fes­ti­val a pair of glasses lies aban­doned on the ground. I hate that, glasses—even sun­glasses—tossed on the ground. There’s no chance that Tou­ton will re­trieve the lost (?) glasses. She ap­pears to be too con­cerned with a boy walk­ing a heart­throb dachs­hund.

In Nanny’s At­tic a pair of glasses has been care­fully placed on van­ity. Also on the van­ity is an old fash­ioned wash­basin and jug. I’d bet a loonie, inside the van­ity’s closed cham­ber is a John­ny­pot. You think? Guess what’s ly­ing on the grass at the Teddy Bears’ Pic­nic. A ne­glected pair of heart-shaped sun­glasses! Nancy. Lau­rel. Please stop leav­ing glasses strewn around. Grand­daugh­ter—re­mem­ber we were a-sprawl on the floor— wanted to find the listed ob­jects at the Win­ter Carnival but I— Grumpy Grampa—said no: “It’s the mid­dle of sum­mer, we’ll see enough snow next win­ter.”

Grand­daugh­ter and I must have been tir­ing. We had a job find­ing the starfish at the Capelin Roll. P’raps I would have spot­ted it sooner if it had been iden­ti­fied as a five-fin­ger as I knew them in my bay-boy days.

At the Fish­ing Mu­seum there’s a trio of starfish—five-fin­gers—in the view­ing pool. And there’s a cou­ple of mice right down at the bot­tom of the page.

By the way, the Keat­ings seem to have a wee ro­dent mo­tif run­ning through their book. See if you can spot them—the mice, not the Keat­ings—when you’re fin­ished find­ing Waldo and you come to play with Scrun­cheon and Tou­ton.

Thank you for read­ing. Mind where you leave your glasses.

gh­wal­ters@per­sona.ca

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