"Live a good life, and in the end, it’s not the years in the life, it’s the life in the years."

A grandpa’s summer adventure

By on July 23, 2018 in Articles with 0 Comments

Bentley finds trying to locate a gnome is very difficult when the home is behind glass.

By James “Jimmy” McGregor

As a grandparent I believe it is part of our job to inspire and entertain our grandkids — so I have this simple sounding idea: “Summer adventure with grandpa.”

The idea is I would choose an event or activity, pick up or have my young grandson dropped off with me and we would be off.

However, I learned such an adventure means I would need to be flexible.

When I wrote “flexible,” perhaps some of you thought, “what does this have to do with stretching?”

And while stretching might be something to consider before going on a grandchild-inspired adventure, I am talking about a different type of flexibility.

Today’s young are very different from yesterday’s or even last year’s young.

As a child, if I was given a pile of dirt and plastic army men, I would’ve been happy for a day or two. If I was allowed to have a running garden hose to add to this venture, I would be happy all summer.

Today’s kids are different — they need more. This is the flexibility that you need to thrive as a grandparent today.

For example: ordering four cheese burger meals doesn’t work. You must allow for time and opinions to be expressed. Maybe they want chicken strips and apples? We just don’t know until we know.

I diverge — back to the summer adventure.

My wife and I were talking about different activities I could do during the summer with my grandson. She told me about the gnomes in Cashmere.

The City of Cashmere, as a tourist activity, has placed gnome homes throughout the city. After you get a map at the tourism office, you can wander around the town and see all of the gnome homes.

This sounded like an excellent plan to me. A quest, a quest to locate all of the gnomes. This was right up there with Bilbo’s quest in The Hobbit or even finding the perfect wedding ring. I was so excited.

My grandson, Bentley, is all boy and loves boy related activities. Over the years, I have pulled him towards Star Wars, games, and other sci fi related activities, and he always goes back to football, baseball, anything with a ball in it. He also likes most modern activities like video games and Pokémon.

Gnomes? I had my hopes.

Bentley was dropped off.  He had a sour look on his face. I asked him if he needed anything. His response was, “No!” This will be a wonderful day, I thought to myself. I mentioned that we were going to go and find the gnomes in Cashmere. The sour look changed to anger. He said, “Gnomes bite and I want to go bowling.”

So being the flexible person I pride myself on being, I explained to him, “These gnomes won’t bite and I will buy you lunch after.” He was not interested.

I further explained that we were going to look for gnomes, go to the museum, and eat lunch… as his face reflected more frustration I added, “And if you do these things in the morning, we will go bowling in the afternoon.”

I got my way, and he got his.

Upon arriving in Cashmere, we quickly made our way to the tourism office and obtained our map. My grandson looked it over and asked, “How do we get there?” I answered, “We are walking!” He liked that idea. Yes, this might be fun after all.

Our first house was at the Sure to Rise Bakery in the downtown. It was a small house in a corner and even when the cashier found out we were just looking for the gnome house, she was still very kind.

As my grandson dragged me from the perfect maple bars in the glass case, we continued down to the next gnome house.

Doane’s Pharmacy was next. We entered and looked around. Eventually we found the gnome home near the… well, if you decide to go, you will find it.

Bentley doing his best impression of an American Ninja Warrior contestant? Maybe someday!

After an hour of walking around Cashmere, we walked toward the riverfront park. There were two gnome homes there.

There were also some amazing pieces of playground equipment. And just like Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit, we were pulled from our quest on a side adventure.

My grandson loves watching American Ninja Warrior, and the playground equipment was very similar. He jumped and climbed though many of the different obstacles. He was even able to tightrope walk across several sections.

I held my breath. Then he was done.

He then asked, “Are we going to the bowling alley?” I explained to him that we would after lunch.

We walked back to the car and made our way to the Cashmere Museum and Pioneer Village. I have many fond memories of this place and was overjoyed to share these experiences with my grandson.

While the museum has changed over the years, it is still a very enjoyable place to visit and they have made some changes that my grandson found very pleasing.

They now have a scavenger hunt, where you are given a piece of paper that has images of items you can locate. This was very helpful to keep a 6-year-old entertained. After completing the list, you get a painted rock as a prize. You can also dress up as a pioneer. He chose a sheriff.

The museum was educational and also entertaining. He was able to find all of the items on the list. My grandson was very interested in the Native American arrowheads and other artifacts. He also liked the animals, although he was curious about them being stuffed.

He finished his scavenger hunt and got his prize. He then asked, “Bowling alley?”

“Right after lunch,” I responded.

We had lunch in the park near the museum. The conversation was mostly about the museum and bowling. I know bowling again.

Bowling!

All I can say about this is that it is humbling when a 6-year-old gets a strike and you get two gutter balls on the first frame.

What an amazing ending to an amazing day with my grandson Bentley. I love that little guy!

For more information about the gnomes and the Cashmere Museum, visit the following websites: www.gnomesofcashmere.com and www.cashmeremuseum.org.

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