Mother and I went to one of our favorite stores the other day, Goodwill. I headed straight for the back to see if I could find a nice piece of cast-iron cookware. I am always on the lookout for cast-iron. En route, I stumbled up on this miracle. They were pulling a red wagon out to the floor. I grabbed it and headed for the front without even checking the price. It was a bargain, no matter what. I ran over a nice middle-aged gentleman on my way up.
“Oh, did you find that here?”
“Yes, I am so thrilled. I’m not even going to shop any more. I’m just going to take it and run.”
“How much was it?”
“I don’t know. I was so excited I forgot to look. Let’s see. Ten dollars! What a deal!” I was dancing a jig for sure,now.
Just about that time Mother walked up. “Oh, you found a red wagon! Did they have any more? I’ve been looking all over for one!”
“I know! When I saw this one I grabbed it!”
Clearly the man thought everything had its price. “My mother has been wanting one forever. Would you let me have it for forty dollars?” Mother looked at him with blood in her eye. She had her eye on that wagon.
“No Sir, If I’m not going to give it to my mother, I’d better not give it to yours.”
Doesn’t she look good pulling it around in my back yard?
Sometimes we are fortunate enough to look past what lies on the surface and find pleasure in unexpected places. Before our children started school, we decided it would be best if I put off working until they started school. Most days, the children and I were home. I rambled the lanes around our rural home were on foot pulling the little ones in a red wagon behind me.
We frequently strolled to a lovely old pre-Civil War cemetery with off a gravel road near our home.. The children were fascinated by the tall, graceful tombstones and loved running between them, seeking out their favorites with angels, little lambs, ornate curlicues, or crypts enclosed within wrought-iron fences.
In their exuberant innocence, they played happily in the deep shade under the ancient oaks, having no knowledge of death or its connection to their favorite destination. Sometimes they sat in the sand of the unpaved tracks, playing with their trucks or other small toys. To them, it was no more than a park. As often as not, I spread a blanket on the grass for them to picnic on peanut butter and jam sandwiches, milk and cookies.
Later, they’d stretch out on the blanket while I read to them, sometimes drifting off for their naps. Late in the afternoon, We’d walk home in the long shadows as they searched for little treasures of pretty stones, colorful bird feathers, or bright flowers or toss small stones from their vantage point on a small wooden bridge into the clear creek below.
I cherish the memory of those lovely afternoons and hope that the souls resting beneath that cool green carpet of grass enjoyed the laughter of children playing and the time we shared with them.