Flat Gareth's adventures
with Grandma and Grampa
A few days after
Christmas an envelope came to Grandma and Grampa in Seattle with a
strange little person inside. "This is Flat Gareth", the note
said. "Please take me to the places that Round Gareth likes so I
can show Round Gareth's friends".
For a while, Flat Gareth rested under the Christmas tree. It had
been a long trip and there was a pillow and nice fireplace nearby.
Of course Flat Gareth knew that he must not get too near the
Soon it would be time to begin going to the places that Round Gareth
had liked so much. Grampa and Grandma had to go to the Army base
to Madigan hospital. Round Gareth and Grampa once
played where swans were. Flat Gareth wanted to play with the
swans, too, but when he got there, the swans were sleeping. He
will have to come back some time.
The next place Flat Gareth went was McChord Air Force Base. Round
Gareth had stayed in quarters there in 2005. He saw a park
with many jets and Flat Gareth wanted to see the jets, so Grandma took
him. Flat Gareth wanted a closer look. He got very close to
one of the jets.
Flat Gareth even got to stand on a tire. Flat Gareth decided that he was a bit too short to be able to pilot a jet plane.
Soon it was time for Grandma and Flat Gareth to go back to Seattle and go to bed.
The next morning Flat Gareth got up and spent a little time talking to
Jasper the Cat who lives with Grandma and Grampa. He is a very
friendly cat and is good company
even though he is a little crazy. When Flat Gareth thinks about
that, he realizes that every cat he has ever met was crazy too.
"We need some groceries", Grandma said, "Would you like to come to the
Puget Consumer's Co-op?". Flat Gareth was very excited because both Round
Gareth and his sister Eva had told him what a great place the co-op is.
They have a lot of organic food and when a boy or girl goes there
they are allowed to pick one piece of fruit and eat it - for free!
Flat Gareth remembers having
seen a photograph of Eva with her piece of fruit and he recalled how
happy she looked with that crisp, organic apple. Flat Gareth is
sorry that he cannot eat at times like these because he has seen some
One thing that Round Gareth and his sister Eva love to do is to go to
the Pacific Science Center, so Grandma and Grampa took Flat Gareth so
he could see all the things that they like. Grandma warned Flat
Gareth that things there might be scary, but that she would protect
Flat Gareth and keep him from danger.
It was good that Grandma told Flat Gareth about that, because as soon
as they went in the door Flat Gareth found himself at the base of where
a really scary dinosaur with lots of teeth was standing! Look at
all those teeth! Look how small Flat Gareth is. But Flat
Gareth was brave just like Round Gareth had been and everything turned
out all right.
There is a big dinosaur with big lumpy spines and Flat Gareth knew it
was a Stegosaurus. Even though he was huge and seemed to have
armor, Flat Gareth also knew that "Steggy" ate only plants. Even
if Steggy were very hungry he would not eat Flat Gareth. Now Flat Gareth could relax a bit.
Do you see Flat Gareth standing right by Steggy's foot? "This is
close enough", Flat Gareth thought, "because if Steggy stepped on me I
might be called "Flatter Gareth"".
Now Flat Gareth was really brave and even went to where two dinosaurs were fighting over a beast
they had killed. Flat Gareth hoped that the dinos would think the
beast was better tasting than a flat boy and leave him alone. It
turned out he was right! Still, it was nice to have a large rock
to hide behind. The roaring was very loud.
were other things to see at the Pacific Science Center.
Grandma and Grampa took Flat Gareth to see a globe which was
put there by NOAA. That is where Round Gareth's parents work in
Juneau, so Flat Gareth was particularly happy to see something so
wonderful. The globe changed to show winds and ocean currents and
even how a tsunami moves across the Pacific Ocean.
Flat Gareth wished he could stand there for hours watching the globe do
all its things, but there were other exhibits to see. Grandma
said that there was a really really scary exhibit, but Flat Gareth said "I am very brave and nothing can scare me!". Grandma said, "We will see..."
Then they went to see the giant scorpion and Flat Gareth stood there but
his smile went all wiggly and he trembled a bit, and Grandma said again
that she was close by and would not let anything happen to Flat Gareth.
Still, the scorpion was really really scary. Do
you see that light-colored thing at the end of his tail? It is a
very sharp stinger and full of poison! The scorpion can bring it
down on anything in front of him. Flat Gareth noticed that he was in front
of the scorpion, but you can see Grandma's hand holding his foot so she could
snatch Flat Gareth away.
Soon it was time to leave because the Science Center was closing.
We went out to see the water cannons that people can aim at
things. Flat Gareth decided not to spend much time there because
it was wet and there was a mist, and Flat Gareth kind of swells up and
gets funny looking when he gets wet.
It looked as though it were going to rain and Flat Gareth wanted to
hurry, but there was time to see the outdoor dinosaurs. They
looked very cold and it reminded Flat Gareth that people do not really
know if dinosaurs were warm-blooded like us or cold-blooded like
If they were cold-blooded they might actually look like these statues
in the winter: unable to move much. Flat Gareth decided that,
considering where he was, it would be nice if the dinosaurs could not
But now it really was time to go home. Grampa put Flat Gareth in his
envelope where he was warm and comfortable, and sleepy. It had
been a busy day.
next day it was raining when everyone woke up, but Grandma and Grampa
and Flat Gareth could go to the Aquarium because that is indoors.
There were wonderful things to see that Round Gareth and Eva had
seen so often. The first was the "Touchy Tank". That may
not have been the real name but that was what Grandma called it.
The tank is full of starfish and children who have never gotten to a
tide pool could feel what they are like. Round Gareth and Eva
have spent many hours in tide pools so this was not so usual.
Gareth thought it would be fun to get up close to sea birds, so he did.
Of course Flat Gareth could not get behind the glass with them
because it would make him swell up, but they could hear each other
through the glass and had a nice visit. The birds want Eva and
Round Gareth to visit them again, and Flat Gareth said, "Soon...".
On the way to the last display Grandma and Flat Gareth passed a bright
exhibit of corals. Corals are warm water dwellers but there are
some cold water corals living offshore in Washington State and even in
Alaska's Aleutian Islands. Flat Gareth thought that it was a
treat to see them here in the aquarium because he certainly would not
want to dive offshore in either place.
Now Flat Gareth was becoming excited because the aquarium in Seattle
has some octopuses and they are very large. Flat Gareth had
thought that octopuses were also warm water creatures, but the largest
octopuses in the world grow in Puget Sound, where Seattle is! This
one is really large. There is his eye and the tube under the eye
that Grampa called the "snort tube" but really is a "siphon".
But Grampa was laughing because he said there was an inn in the San
Juan Islands which had an "Octopus Snort Room". Flat Gareth was beginning
to think that Grampa and Jasper the Cat are alike in some ways.
It had been a fine visit, but now it was time for Flat Gareth to go back
to Juneau and be with his own family again. Besides, he has to
tell everyone about his adventures. Into the envelope he goes
and soon he will be on his way. Gareth and Eva will return to
Seattle to see Grandma and Grampa, and perhaps they will bring Flat
Gareth when they come. After all, Flat Gareth has never seen the Zoo!
Goodbye, Grandma. Goodbye, Grampa. One last picture of Grandma on their boat, then then Flat Gareth is "out'a here"!