All the major movers and shakers in life must have some specialty form of transportation. The Beatles had "The Yellow Submarine". Scooby-Doo and friends had "The Mystery Machine". Cartoon kids have "The Magic School Bus".
Well, I have 'special' transportation, too. I wish it were a car with GPS that I could program in my destination and it would drive me there, but sadly, no. I have been known to be a fixture on the Suntran bus when I have four hours to travel across town, but my favorite form of transportation was a giant green garden wagon.
When one of my boys was two or three, he wanted a wagon. In my head I'm picturing one of those Radio Flyers, red, with a black metal handle and little red and white wheels. Perfect for a toddler.
Instead, my husband and I went to the hardware store and found the coolest wagon ever. Seriously, this was the John Deere of wagons. It had giant inflatable tires, green metal mesh for the bed and sides, a handle that was about three feet long and the sides could be lowered to make it a flat bed. It was awesome!
My boys and I rode this wagon everywhere. We filled it with sand toys, picnic lunches, and blankets and went to the park. We pushed it around the block for hours picking up other kids and giving them rides, going super fast on the down hill like we were riding in a race car. When my oldest started riding the bus to pre-school in the morning, my husband built a wooden frame which stood in the corners of the wagon. It was painted like a bus an even had a door and red head and tail lights. My son would ride in his 'bus' up the street to Joy school twice a week.
My favorite activity in the wagon though, was grocery shopping. We lived about 8 blocks from Harmon's Grocer and every week or so we loaded up the wagon and walked up 700 South in St. George to the store. Now if you know anything about this road, you know its super busy, four lanes and a left hand turn lane because it is a major connection between the east and west sides of town. It also has sidewalks all the way, a major benefit for a blind person with a wagon. With my three little kids in the big green wagon I'd pull all of us to Harmons, fill the wagon with groceries and then we'd all push the thing home. It took all three of us at this point because it weighed about 100 pounds by now. Our favorite part of this trip was crossing beneath the I-15 overpass. On 700 South, the side walk slants up to a point where it flattens out and then drops back to ground level once you're under the pass. Getting all the weight up the first side of that stretch of sidewalk feels like pushing a boulder up a cliff, but down the other side...? You can see where I'm going here right?
With just the kids in the wagon going up wasn't two bad, going down I'd climb in with them on the down side, use the handle like a steering wheel and we'd fly down the opposite slope; laughing and screaming the whole time
I think it scared my husband a little when people would tell him they saw his wife and kids riding the big green wagon down 700 south, but we loved it. The heat or the cold didn't matter. The long journey and fierce up-hill effort disappeared. Fights, crying kids, dirty floors and bad eyesight vanished in those moments when we'd hang on to each other, feel the wind and the speed and for a time ride in the big green wagon.
My kids are too big now for the wagon, besides they've got bikes, scooters, and skateboards that are a lot more fun. The wagon sits in our garage, full of all of their helmets, balls, toys and rollerblades. Its tires won't hold air anymore and its a little rusty around the hinges, but I love that wagon.
I think of my life like the wagon. There were lots of practical uses for it. It had a job to do and purpose though it wasn't fancy, glamorous, or popular. It trudged through the loads, the heat, the abuse of little bodies and it wasn't ever easy.
But...When we'd fly, it was spectacular.
I will never be a Ferrari, a duely pick-up, a limousine, or a bullet bike. I will always just be a big green wagon.
Oh man...do I love the ride!!!.