Our yard in Pennsylvania was full of dips and holes that filled with water with every rain. When the puddles were ripe, my brother, sister, and I would saddle up and proceed to engage in one of the most enjoyable activities of my childhood.
When you sit in the bed of a Radio Flyer wagon and pull the handle back toward yourself, it becomes a steering wheel. When your older brother crouches behind the wagon with his hands on the back of the bed ready to push like hell, he becomes an engine. When your younger sister squeezes into the bed to enjoy the ride, well, she’s just enjoying the ride.
My brother would take off, running as fast as he could and pushing the Radio Flyer as fast as it could roll along. I aimed for the big puddles.
The water would splash up on both sides of the wagon as we cut puddles in half, like a ski boat slicing through water. We’d dart through puddle after puddle until my brother had enough of pushing his little sisters around the yard.
I don’t remember what happened before or after these games. Maybe we wandered into the woods to build forts. Or maybe I gardened with my mom. I couldn’t say. But I remember feeling the air on my face and seeing the spray of the water when it splashed up on either side of the wagon. The bumps and lumps of the ground that bounced my sister and I around in the wagon. The way we laughed and played.