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My dad loves to take walks and explore, he always has. I remember once we walked with my

Dad through the countryside of Spain.

It was so dreamy! We came across a vast sunflower field with rows of tall, ripe, and yellow sunflowers. Beyond the field, we saw a castle. A real castle! Mesmerized that such things were real, we were compelled to walk the narrow rows between towering sunflowers. The castle seemed as close as the moon. It didn’t take long before we felt watched by all the sunflowers. Soon we began to feel that they were turning their heads as we walked down their narrow rows. Were they laughing at us? Were they watching our every move? Eventually, we got so creeped out that we took off running toward the castle darting to safety. I remember the relief I felt the moment I saw my dirty tennis shoe touch down on green grass. I had survived the sunflower army of creepiness!

My sister, brother, and Dad cheered and laughed until our breath was stolen from us as we

suddenly realized the castle was less than 4 yards away. Gathering close together, we slowly approached the gates of the castle with apprehension, disbelief, and suspense. It was like being in a Nancy Drew novel! I couldn’t believe we were at a real castle! Would I see a princess? Would there be a beast looking into a beautiful fountain as birds danced around flowering gardens full of dreamy wonder? A fire-breathing dragon? A prince? A wicked stepmother? I could hardly stand it!

Slowly we crept up to the tall metal gate. It was rusted. Shut with a large, decaying lock and chain from the scariest Hollywood Halloween movie. I was a puddle of disappointment. With a sigh and a groan, we each stuck our heads of varying heights through the bars of the rusted metal gate, trying to steal a look at what was trapped within. We saw strange vehicles that didn’t make sense to my nine-year-old brain. Nothing made sense! Then, I heard dad say it was farm equipment! Really? Farm equipment? “What a waste!” I thought, depleted of everything important.

Suddenly a loud monstrous noise burst through the atmosphere. Was it a giant? A monster? I was frozen with confusion and fear. I couldn’t move. I didn’t even think to move. Then I realized it wasn’t a giant. It was maybe one hundred dogs of various sizes and colors running, barking, and showing their teeth! We barely moved our faces out of the bars before they would have eaten us for dinner! Behind them appeared the shadow of a very old skinny man with a limp and a cane. Was it a wizard? Dad said it was the farmer. How sad. As we grumpily scurried away unharmed, I had a fleeting thought of thankfulness for that old nasty disappointing chain and lock.

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