The Secret About Station Wagons

My car is white. Honestly, I don’t like white cars all that much, but I didn’t buy it for its color. When I was 24 years old I had a burning desire for a station wagon…

My passion for station wagons began to develop at a very young age as, growing up, we had not only ONE family station wagon…no, no. We had TWO family station wagons. One for mom. One for dad. One was blue with wood paneling and the other was plain old blue. There are magical things about a station wagon when you’re a child. Like sitting in The Way Way Back where the seats faced out the back window. The back seat was “The Way Back” while the very back seat we called “The Way Way Back”. We would hold up handwritten signs on notebook paper that read things like, SMOKING GIVES YOU DOG BREATH until mom or dad busted us. The Way Way Back of the station wagons could also be laid flat on road trips to Alabama to visit Big Mama, Fancy, Butch and my grandparents. My parents would wake us up in the wee hours of the morning and we would stumble out to the station wagon and 2 of us would get to lay in The Way Way Back where they had laid out quilts and Fun Boxes filled with crossword puzzles, candy and brand new notebooks.

The station wagons also had a “secret compartment” in The Way Way Back. In reality, it was not a secret at all, it was in plain view and its purpose was more for jumper cables and maps vs. for mean older sisters and brothers to stuff their littlest sister into. But my brother and I did it, nonetheless, (stuffed Lisa in there, that is) and we told my parents halfway through Kansas that they had forgotten her at the gas station. Yeah, that wasn’t one of our brightest ideas. Station Wagons were full of magic at that age. So it came to no surprise to me when I had taken the 2 little girls I nannied for at age 24 to car shop with me…we test drove all sorts of great vehicles, but when it came down to it: We all just fell in love with The Station Wagon.

Since then, its been through an accident, thus the rusty dent by the left rear tire. There is a cassette player. Yes I said it. I have only a cassette player. And 1 cassette. The air bag was once deployed and since I didn’t have $600 to fix it, I cut the thing out, leaving a gaping hole in my steering wheel which became a sweet little garbage can for my Adult Orthodontic Rubberbands last year. The muffler sounds like someones firing a machine gun and smells like someone shoved a couple diapers in there. Well, I personally I can’t smell because of the Anosmia, but I hear its bad. But don’t judge a book by its cover. This little white wagon has seen the tops of mountains, the ocean’s shore and its hauled my loads of stuff in probably 7 moves (at least!). This little white wagon has heard me singing out of key at the top of my lungs, its felt my tears hit the dash on one of those Cry Your Eyes Out drives, its listened to laughs, heart to hearts with friends and has been laid on to watch the stars over the canyon hills.

I’m working with middle school kids again…ones who don’t yet know Christ. There was one the other day in wheelchair at lunch. He was reading. No one talked to him. I asked him his name and what he was reading. Short, but sweet. As I walked away from him and watched all the other kids in the lunch room chatting, laughing and sharing memories I wondered about my new friend. I wondered if he knew the secret about Station Wagons. How sometimes people judge them on the outside…but how they hold some of the greatest qualities a car could have. And then I wondered if he knew the secret about himself. I wondered if he knew how valuable he was. It was obvious no one at school thought so about him. Maybe this year, I’ll have the chance to let this boy in on A Little Secret…You know, the one about the station wagons. And the one about a God that doesn’t judge books by their covers.

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