a writing by Nancy Ellen Crossland

There it was. Against the wall of the garage next to the rusty lawnmower Dad had used hundreds of times. There it was. Lopsided, a wheel missing. Rusty too. It's former red shine now gone. A shell of what it once was. Andrew couldn't believe his mother had not tossed it years ago. The wagon. The Radio Flyer that he and Joey hauled countless treasures within its sturdy confines.

Of all the items to sort through after his mother's passing, this one item halted his enthusiasm to clear out everything. As he pulled out the wagon, brushing off cobwebs, sleepy spiders and years of dust, he saw far beyond the rusty wagon to that time so very long ago what a treasured vessel it was to two boys transporting a conglomeration of items. Everything from planks of wood found near the junkyard, to screening, old radios, walkie-talkies, bicycle tires, glass bottles and anything and everything that wagon could carry.

What adventurers they were! How many mason jars had they pulled in that wagon and scooped up polliwogs from the creek only to rush home and watch those jars intensely and be amazed at the transformation they would see. They even tried to communicate with Mars by building a makeshift contraption of old parts of phonographs and radio parts hoping to make "contact". Planks of wood hauled were used for their secret clubhouse that boasted of five members. Only the secret word and handshake was discussed in whispers and secret codes.

That wagon carried wounded pets, lemonade for their summertime stand, and happily some coins they had received for their efforts. They were pirates, astronauts, archeologists and scientists back then. Every dream became a reality for those boys.

As Andrew finally withdrew from his reverie of long ago, he stood gazing at that wagon. Here he was a middle-aged man, graying at the temples tenderly wiping the dust away from that wagon and a tear from his eye.

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