When I was young I was never a real fan of the big, expensive toys. Maybe it was because I didn't really have much exposure to them; or maybe because I preferred to dwelll in the land of make-believe (or maple-leaf as I believed it to be called for the longest time); or maybe it was because even at a tender age I instinctively knew that the simpler things in life are the things that keep us truly happy.
One of those simple things that kept me very happy were paint and play books. If you are unfamiliar, these were simple illustrations with faint smudges of colour that when touched with a damp paintbrush, the smudges would come alive, blurring and blending into vivid watercolours. In truth, there wasn't a whole lot of imagination to them. You did not get to choose the colours, and it was still recommended that you remain within the prescribed lines. You could however, if you were blessed with enough imagination, dream that you were a gifted, sought after artist; that the colours that you blended and the brushstrokes that you swept across the pages where the makings of museum-worthy masterpieces.
For a walk down memory lane, I received one of these paint and play books as a joke gift this past Christmas. As a nostalgic bonus, it is filled with images from Dick and Jane stories.
Today, I filled my glass with water, and dipped the rigid plastic bristles careful to allow the excess water to drip off before smearing it to the page.
I think that Dick and Jane are perhaps a little green with envy at the masterpiece that I churned out this afternoon.