Amazing Race, a reality television game show is the only television show that our family watches on a regular basis, so it wasn’t that much of a stretch when Crystel requested an Amazing Race scavenger hunt for her 12th birthday party.
A garden gnome was the children’s passport and the first clue stated how important their gnome was:
Find a gnome. The gnome must be with you today, always. One of you must hold it, carry it, and have it on your person at all times. Both of you are responsible to tenderly attend to your gnome until you are on the mat at the finish line. If you are ever without your gnome it is a ½ hour penalty. This penalty will be served before you can step on the finishing mat.
A ruckus in the corner of the living room draws my attention. Two gnome brothers are about to go at it. One has a hoe he menacingly swings above his head.
“I had it worse than you,” he hollers.
“No, you didn’t,” the other argues. “Look at my hat. I’ve had this HAT ever since the19th-century.” The gnome starts to sob. “I remember … when the
German children … called me Gartenzwerge (garden dwarf).”
He is overcome with grief and drops his water pitcher. The black jug lands at his feet spilling its contents. “What is it with children these days?” He sits down, not caring that his pants are getting wet. He rests his head in his arms, lets loose with his tears.
“Yeah, but, yeah but …” the gnome with the hoe says, “At least YOU were found. My children caretakers couldn’t even find me. I would have stayed in the crook of the tree aaaallllllll day if it wasn’t for their
mother. Darn electronics!” He peers down at the hole in his brother’s conical hat. “Maybe he’s right maybe he does have it worse. I can see right down to his feet. I knew he never had any guts.” He touches his head. “At least I still have my point.”
The gnome lowers his hoe, sits next to his brother on the grass and places his arm gently around him. “Children have lost their ability to see.” He pauses, then goes on, “And, to read, for gosh sakes. The clue clearly showed where to look for me.” After a moment, he starts to chuckle, “Did you see those two girls running all over Donaldson Park? At the playground, in the soccer field?” He bowls over with laughter. “They weren’t even close to where I was.” The gnome finally realizes that he is the only one
laughing but he can’t help himself. He raises his eyebrows. “Oh, my,” he exclaims. “That is quite a hole. Forget about going to the repair shop for that.” He grabs his tummy, shakes with glee.
Only when it is quiet do the gnomes think to inquire where their older brother is. Maybe they are thankful he isn’t around. Lately he has insisted that they listen to his sermons from the mushroom platform that he has created. His daily pontificating drives the brothers crazy.
They found their brother sitting under the mushroom talking softly to his pet bluebird.
“They called me Gnomie,” he says unhappily to his pet.
“Cheer, cheer, cheerful, charmer,” the bird says in a melodious, gurgling whistle.
“That wasn’t the worst of it,” he was telling the bluebird. “They abandoned me in a restaurant. All they could think of was money, money, money, winning, winning, winning.”
The two brothers crawl under the gold chanterelle mushroom and join their brother. Apricot scent is in the air.
“My two girls called me Gnomio,” the one with the hole in his hat says shrugging his shoulders. He had a lot bigger problems to think about.
“I was Peachie,” says the one with a hoe. He reaches up to take a nibble out of the tender mushroom stem. “Mmmmm,” he says.
“Stop it,” says Gnomie. He bats at his brother. “The altar will fall.” He measures his brothers with his eyes. “I think we can all agree that it wasn’t a good day to be a gnome.”
All three solemnly nod their heads.
Children’s laughter is heard in the background, oblivious to the gnomes sorrow.
What surprised me the most about Crystel’s Amazing Race is how similar it was to the reality show. Clues misread or not read, shouts of unfairness, competitors talking their way to the front of the line, and a gnome (passport) forgotten in the heat of the race….. but most importantly the day was a whole loft of fun for competitors, drivers, video and camera crew.