A few months before our first grandchild was to be born, we bought an antique
farm wagon with a stake body. I’d longed for a wagon like this one which I
found in our Sears and Roebuck Co. catalog for $5. Maybe I bought the wagon
because I never had one. However, it was one of the most-used toys our four
grandsons ever had.
Nancy’s Sam was two months older than Walt’s Cole. When they were about 2
years old I’d put an old quilt in the little stake wagon and pull them to the
place were a little creek crosses our driveway. They’d throw rocks to see them
splash in the pool below the concrete crossing. “Look,” I’d say, “here
comes a leaf boat.” Then they’d float boats and splash rocks till I said our
time was up. I’d then pull them up the hill to the house at nap time.
Later that summer, we were floating leaf boats and dry twigs. They liked it
when their boats went over the 10-inch waterfall and out of sight and they
squealed with joy when they reappeared. One day I broke sticks from a tree and
said, “I’m fishing.” Soon we were yelling “Got a big one!” or sadly
reporting, “Oh, he got away.” I’d hold on to their shirt tails and say,
“Back up, fellows, you might fall in.” They discovered that pushing the
wagon up the hill was more fun than riding in it. Thus I introduced Cole and
Sam to a sport I’ve enjoyed all of my life.
Peter was the baby in the wagon the next summer. I tied strings on longer
sticks and put corks where hooks would have been. We’d pretend we had bites
and that the corks went under. When one caught an imaginary fish I’d yell,
“Meat on the table!” the way my uncle Lawrence Henry used to do when he
caught a big one. There were water skippers at the crossing, but no fish.
When wading in the water after fishing, Sam reached down and brought up a
fistful from the bottom. “Hey, Granny, you know what?” No, what. “This is
sand!” Coled waded out of the water on to some warm, dry sand and called to
his cousin, “Look, Sam, this is real sand, like in the sandpile.” We were
late getting back to the house that day and the boys helped their “Up-Pa”
haul some real sand on their next visit.
The water dried up when hot weather came. The fourth grandson, Oliver, got in
on the fun when Sam and Cole were kindergarten age and Peter was a toddler.
That farm wagon got a workout each summer.
The first time I took Sam and Cole to a larger water hole I tied real hooks
and sinkers on their twine string tackle. I showed them the sharp hook, nicked
my own finger and winced to prove that they could hurt. Cole and Sam stuck out
their fingers and had me nick them to prove that hooks could hurt. They did
catch five tiny creek perch and, of course, I had to dress them and fry them
Now they’re into soccer, computers and school activities, and there’s not much
time for the farm and fishing. Oliver attends Jeff Junior High; Peter
completes his first year at Rock Bridge; Cole graduates from Rock Bridge and
Sam graduates from Hickman.
And the little farm wagon is worn out.