Ever since the divorce, Walter has become a very driven, goal oriented 12 year old boy who wants nothing more than to “succeed” in life. His days run like clockwork with everything scheduled down to the minute, even wearing multiple watches to ensure that he is never late for a scheduled event or appointment. He’s been known to chastise the mailman, Mr. Peterson, for delivering the mail 3 minutes late. “Is this how you run your life Mr. Peterson?” In his room he keeps a life map with every phase of his future planned out. His greatest immediate goal is to enroll in the VERY hard to get into magnet school in his town, because if they accept him, maybe, just maybe his father will be proud enough of him to return home.
Grandpa is a distracted, loopy, somewhat impatient old gentleman. For years he has disappeared for weeks at a time, only to show up back in his little room he’s rented with no trace of where he’s been. Out of concern for his well being, his daughter, Walt’s mom, has arranged for him to come live with her and Walt. THIS is where the conflict begins. Grandpa shows up on their doorstep (two hours late) wearing his typical mismatched, frumpled clothing. He carries in one hand an old leather suitcase with clothes sticking out of the seams. Under his other arm he carries an old framed painting of “Dogs Playing Poker”. He also has a weathered leather bound notebook overflowing with hastily taped in pictures of old well known paintings and drawn in arrows going from image to image. Hundreds of notes are scribbled anywhere there is space. Last but not least, he wears a necklace of twine with an odd piece of carved stone on the end of it. The stone looks as if it’s a broken piece of something larger. He and Walt could not be any more opposite from each other. It’s not until well into their forced journey together that the two of them see that they actually want the same thing…to recapture the past. It’s at this point that the two of them see each other through new eyes and start to get along and enjoy each other’s company.