The best gift I ever received was a little red wagon ..and I was very middle-aged when it appeared beneath the Christmas tree. Here's the story.
We had built a home in the woods and hills of Alabama. It was the only home we ever had that was truly ours from the ground up - all other homes had been pre-owned. We left the space around the house, I hesitate to call it a yard, as natural as we possibly could, leaving trees and some of the undergrowth. I wanted to landscape around this plan, using as many native plants as I could, and even took a continuing education course so I would make as few mistakes as possible.
Eventually much of my dream landscape was accomplished - what wasn't eaten by the deer. However, I had a maintenance problem. We had a wonderful large garden cart left over from other houses and other mostly treeless lawns - the difficulty was that this cart would not pass through some of the narrow places between the trees and it could get really heavy going uphill. I told my husband I needed a little red wagon to haul stuff around. The size to carry a bag of fertilizer, some garden tools, a few plants - whatever I needed to tow to save a few steps - but not a very large wagon. Understand that I was taking care of a couple of acres... I mentioned the wagon several times - could have gone and bought one myself, but just never did.
When Christmas morning came ...there was the red wagon under my tree! And it was a Flexible Flyer! And red - my favorite color! The perfect size! To appreciate my excitement, you should understand that I never had a wagon as a child, although I often envied those my friends had. My husband favored much more expensive gifts as a rule and he wasn't always the best listener when I gave out gentle hints. Not only did I have my much coveted wagon, but I had also been heard! Joy! Joy! Joy!
As the months passed and I hauled every imaginable item in that wagon, my husband would just shake his head. Turns out that he bought the wagon mostly as a joke, never dreaming that I would actually use it. I smiled to myself everytime I took it out of the shed loaded with my supplies.
When the grandchildren visited, the wagon took on another life. The streets near our house were quite steep. The wagon was excellent for hauling small children up. The older children discovered the wild and scary ride down for themselves. There was a skinned knee or two, but no broken limbs.
The wagon has had another transformation now that I've had a couple of back surgeries and pay others to keep up my present tiny yard. It holds my recycling tub and takes it from garage to the street every Friday - a tub too heavy for me to carry when it's full. I still smile to myself every time I grab the handle and start off!
The wagon has aged better than I have!