Tea for Ten


No wonder  Kelloggs’  chose a toucan to advertise Froot Loops.  Their beaks are gorgeous splashes of red, orange, green, blue, and yellow.

“Toucan Sam” hawked his wares during the Saturday morning commercials of my childhood, along with Lucky the Leprechaun and that annoying bird who went “cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs!” At home, I ate oatmeal and Cheerios, but I scored the sugary stuff at sleepovers.  My friends and I would spend the night dancing in our pajamas to a stack of 45’s and playing “Truth or Dare” and generally making huge amounts of noise until some parent rapped on the bedroom door and growled, “Get to Sleep, NOW!”  Next morning, settling down to a bowl of Toucan Sam’s special Loops seemed like putting the frosting on the forbidden Froot.

I’m just finishing an alphabet name painting for a baby named Trevor, and it’s wall-to-wall toucans: ten toucans to be exact, taking a tour on the Terni Falls tramway.  I found Terni under “Waterfalls of the World” in my odd, old dictionary.  I didn’t know there were lists of rivers and waterfalls until I thumbed through the pages “on beyond zebra” as Dr. Seuss would say.

Terni Falls is in Italy.  None of the photos I tracked down showed a tramway, but who cares?  Not the toucans.  They’re taking tea and trailing a tote bag that holds a tour guidebook (titled Italy for Birds), tanning oil, a tennis racquet, and a towel.  And the tenth toucan (in his baker’s toque) is flying in with toast, having already delivered a tart and a torte to the tea party.  Toodle-oo!

T is for Trevor