A few months ago I noticed something on a bulletin board at a local grocery store. I seldom take time to read notices on community bulletin boards, but this plea caught my attention:
I remember fondly my red wagon I had as a kid, a Radio Flyer. I used to cart around all sorts of things in it, particularly Baby Bully. He was sort of like My Buddy before My Buddy started appearing beneath Christmas trees nationwide. Baby Bully was much more unique, a collector’s item really. But at some point, my grandmother confiscated him, likely because she was concerned how her grandson would turn out if he continued to carry around a doll. I’m not sure what those lasting effects would have been or whether I’m dealing with any of them today. (I think my dad may have named Baby Bully, since he was always coming up with strange things like that. He called me “Matt the Fat” even though I was skinny … then.)
Back to the wagon. The rest of the ad read something like:
“Wagon was left in yard. It was not trash. So if you took it please return it.”
(A note for my West Coast readers: we’re still oldschool around here; we can leave just about anything out for trash and either the sanctioned garbage collectors will pick it up or trash pickers will weed through it and take what they want. Thus, a wagon can be inadvertently swiped from someone’s front yard.)
Three things saddened me about this ad:
- Whoever posted this doesn’t have much of a prayer. I doubt anyone is going to return it.
- I envision a little boy heartbroken because his wagon is gone. (And his Baby Bully might have been tucked inside.)
- I’m seeing little girls who leave their wagons out by the trash.
It is early for our girls to have started middle school (it runs 5th through 8th grade here), and it seems the high school’s close proximity is influencing some of their classmates, because they’ve started earlier with the “raccoon eyes.” These are girls who, wanting to look older, layer on the mascara without, apparently, any guidance on makeup application and technique. With their painted faces and mismatching (and showing) bra straps, they’re on their way to becoming like little wagons left out by the trash.
We want better for our girls (and for them). Part of my job as a dad is to assure our girls of their value so they never merely give themselves away. I see little girls—older teenagers, but still little girls—at the malls who have sold themselves cheap by the way they dress and wear their makeup, and I wonder where their dads are at (and their moms).
Cindy’s job, and one she is quite adept at, is to help them—when the time comes—with all the things girls do in the bathroom. I’m not entirely sure what goes on in there, and I don’t want to know. I just know that when Cindy emerges she is stunning. Of course, she entered just as beautiful. (A little shout out to my beautiful-even-without-makeup bride.)
I don’t know what became of my red wagon—or Baby Bully. But our girls, we’re tucking them safely in the garage, never to be confused with trash for anyone to pick through.