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Shortly before Christmas, my dad and his wife came into town to see Evan, something which really only happens 2-3 times a year for a variety of reasons I won’t go into. This was yet another case – they’re bad about this – where the meeting had been set up less than 24 hours before, and I just didn’t have a chance to pull together anything to give them. Really, though, my dad just wants to see Evan on any given day, so I had them meet me at a restaurant in Alma called the Red Rooster, which is my favorite place to eat (that’s right, as if I wasn’t already enough of a heel for not being ahead of the curve on my Christmas shopping, I made them buy me lunch). I took some food for Evan, including a banana which I fed to him on the spot: Evan and his grandfather both love bananas. I knew my dad would get a kick out of that.

As we were leaving, my dad said that he had some goodie bags, mainly for Evan, and it was some pretty good stuff – books about animals, books about telling time, all sorts of neat stuff which Evan loves (I guarantee I have to read at least one of these animal books a day to him – he demands it). But the biggie was something that I had already seen, and had never expected to see again.

Little red wagon

That little red wagon actually used to be mine. I was probably all of 3, 4, maybe 5 years old. I don’t think I’ve seen it in nearly 20 years; I remember at some point spotting it stowed away on an upper shelf in the basement of the house I grew up in, sometime in the ’80s, and the thought never occurred to me at the time that I’d be seeing it again, or that I’d have a reason to. I hadn’t thought about it since then. In fact, I’d forgotten it until I laid eyes on it for the first time in nearly 30 years.

My dad apparently hung on to the little red wagon all these years, got it cleaned up – I don’t remember it ever being this clean, and I wouldn’t put it past him to have had it repainted – and now it belongs to my son. Evan, of course, being the neat freak that he is, keeps the wagon in his bedroom and stows his toys and other goodies away in it. It’s kind of like the mobile toy chest: he can drag it into any room in the house and deploy all kinds of fun all over the place! And yet he always puts it back in there when he’s done, and back to his room it goes. (Where Evan comes by these neat-freak tendencies, I have no idea – it must come from the same place as his height, which is now exactly half of mine.)

Someday I’ll fill my son in on the history behind his first (used) set of wheels. But until then, I just love knowing that he has this now.

Thanks, Dad.

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Earl Green ()

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