Scotch & Tavo
Oatmeal, Arizona – Where nothing ever happens…
Hoppin’ Scotch arrived in Oatmeal one early summer day, bounding out of the Beasley’s old Ford like it was full of ants. He stretched his little legs by hopping all around. At first glance, it was clear that the scruffy little Terrier was better than unusual – he was unique. Watching from his porch at Miss Josie’s, Tavo the donkey was curious and anxious to meet the energetic newcomer since not much ever happened in Oatmeal.
Before Tavo could muster a welcoming bray, the little Terrier proceeded to hop right on over to Miss Josie’s fence and yap a friendly hello to Tavo. The two quickly became friends. But just as Tavo was going to show Scotch around town, Mrs. Beasley caught up and scolded Scotch for hopping off like that.
“Now, shame on you, Scotch! You mustn’t bother the neighbors already; we’ve only just arrived.” She gave Tavo a chummy nose rub, and her voice softened when she saw how disappointed Scotch looked.
“Well, alright. You can play awhile, Scotch. I need to get Mr. Beasley and our things inside, anyway.” She smiled and turned to leave just as Miss Josie stepped out on the porch next door and waved.
“Hello! And welcome.” Miss Josie offered cheerily. “I knew you were coming, so I’ve made a nice casserole. I’ll bring it over once you’re all settled.”
Mrs. Beasley was very grateful, and when the two ladies were out of earshot, Scotch had a question for Tavo.
“Do you really take baths out here?” he nodded at the tub on Miss Josie’s porch.
“No!” Tavo laughed, “It’s my bed. I sleep in the tub.”
Then it was Scotch’s turn to laugh. In fact, he rolled around in the grass and laughed for several minutes at the idea of a donkey sleeping in a bathtub before Tavo had enough.
“Hey! What’s wrong with sleeping in a bathtub? You hop around all the time like a silly Pogo stick!” he muttered.
“Oh, now. No offense, my friend. You’re right; I do hop all the time – because I love to!” Scotch tried to smooth things over. “Why, show me some kids, and I’ll show you just how well I can hop.”
“Kids? We don’t have children in Oatmeal.” Tavo said
“Sure ya do. I saw them on the way here.” Scotch replied. When Tavo shook his head in disbelief, Scotch went on. “C’mon. I’ll show you.”
Scotch and Tavo headed on down the road, passing nearly all the houses in Oatmeal to where weeds poked out of sidewalk cracks. When the last place came into view, Tavo gasped. It was a great big house he couldn’t remember seeing before. And by golly, there were kids out front, playing jump rope! Tavo watched with awe as Scotch hopped right in, keeping perfect time with the swinging rope as the kids giggled with delight.
Tavo stood at the half-open gate, kinda wishing he could hop like that! He thought he saw more small faces in the windows of the big house and wondered just how many kids might live there. Then he saw a tattered wooden sign hanging sideways by a single hinge;
Forever Cherished Orphanage
Tavo decided he would have to ask old Sneezer what that meant, exactly.
Scotch and the kids played the afternoon away while Tavo enjoyed carrot treats and a delicious juicy apple – just for hanging around! But as sunset neared, it was time to head back to Oatmeal.
After leaving Scotch at his house, Tavo had one stop to make before he went home to Miss Josie’s. Sure enough, Old Sneezer was snoozing in front of the Mercantile. Sneezer, the town geezer, knew everything and everyone in Oatmeal. And besides, he was one of the few humans who spoke animal! So Sneezer gave a toothless grin when Tavo mentioned the big house outside of town.
His heart soared when he learned that the long-abandoned home had recently been purchased by a loving couple who just wanted to raise kids – twenty to be exact! “And,” Sneezer held up his pointer finger, “they would all be coming into Oatmeal for a big town picnic on the coming weekend,” he said with a smile.
Tavo could hardly wait until morning to tell Scotch the news! He climbed into his tub that night and thought about his terrific day. He had a new friend, Hopping Scotch, and kids were coming to Oatmeal! Finally, he fell asleep with the perfect recipe for peaceful donkey dreams.
11/05/11 Oatmeal. AZ