We’re on a We’re Going on a Bear Hunt kick. But after our misadventure in the forest and the sand dunes, we thought we’d go after an easier target.
Not a bear, not a dog.
This time we’re going after Granddad. He’s 89 years old and so he’ll be a cinch to catch, we tell ourselves.
The five of us take off in the car and make after Granddad who had left on foot half an hour earlier on his way to the beach. We follow his traditional route down the sandy streets and we reach the beach in five minutes. There is no sign of Granddad.
“Let’s go on foot,” I tell the three kids and my wife.
We pile out of the car and we look up the beach and then down the beach.
“Can you see him?”
“Not yet,” says my four-year-old son.
We make our way down the sand toward the shore and there before us is a great pool of water left by the high tide. We stop and think that we can go round it, no problem at all. My son has other thoughts. He goes right through it. Splishy, splashy. Splishy, splashy. His shoes all wet through.
Then I spot Granddad.
“There he is,” I yell out.
He is doing tai chi – or tai chuan do – about 200 yards away on the wood deck of a beach café. He is dressed all in black, making his white hair even more noticeable.
The eldest girl runs for him, while the one-year-old takes off to the sea and the four-year-old detours back to repeat the oh so fun splishy, splashy portion of the hunt.
“We can’t do this,” my wife says. “There are too many kids.”
She runs for the baby, I go for my son. We pick them up and we give chase behind the eldest girl who is narrowing in on Granddad. She is nearly there and waving her arms to try to get his attention, to snap him out of his tai-chi trance.
Then Granddad suddenly turns and walks into the café.
We catch up to the eldest, who is about 20 yards away from where Granddad was, and she says he’s vanished. We look around and then there he is. He is on the beach road booking it north. We run with the littlest one in my arms and the other two scrambling to keep up with us as we race along the soft sand. Then granddad vanishes out of view behind another beach café.
We get to the road and there’s no sign of him.
He can’t have gone that far, I think. Heck, he’s more than twice my age. So where is he? Then we spot him. He comes out of the café, and he sees us and waves, and starts walking toward us.
Then all five of us hunters collapse in the sand.
We’re not going on a granddad hunt again.