The Wagon and The Rope

Last night I was flipping channels between football and everything else. I came upon an Oprah show where she was speaking with Steve Harvey about life. Steve Harvey told a little story about life and how it is like pulling a wagon up a hill with a rope. You are the only one on the rope. It is heavy and lays across your bare back. As you go along you end up having people in your wagon. As you go along, the people in your wagon help you clear the rocks from the road and push along….

Inevitably, you will end up with someone in your wagon who thinks it is okay to put up their feet and just ride along. It makes your burden heavy and the road very long. When this occurs (and it will) you need to throw the baggage from your wagon. (Amen!)

I got to thinking about my wagon as well as the wagons I have been in. So far, it has been an interesting ride. In my twenties I was in some wagons that I had no business being in! No wonder my Mom was nervous. But, I got lucky and if it was a little wild it was also fun and at the end of the day a great start to my collection of riders.

I was a college/optometry student for 8 years. I was broke and not always 100% sure where I was going. Luckily for me, I was in some wagons going in the same direction and I just rode along. Sometimes the occupants of my wagon knew where I was going and were pushing so hard that the wagon got ahead of the rope and basically dragged me along despite my intentions. I was a hopeless romantic and probably would have chucked the whole thing except my occupants drove me past the point of no return and kissed me goodbye and jumped overboard. Thanks, I think.

In my thirties the wagon got a little heavy. Looking back, I think this was a good thing because if you never feel the weight of a heavy wagon you cannot appreciate it later when the load is lighter. Mistakes were made. My biggest mistake was forsaking my own wagon to pull another. I put all of my eggs in one basket and the basket wasn’t even mine. So, there was a point where I had no eggs and no basket. Time to get my own wagon! It took a bit, but I got it.

My wagon is like the old Jeep Wagoneer. It takes a while to get going fast but there is plenty of room for everyone and when you go over hills really fast you get a stomach flip. Too bad they don’t make those anymore…they should bring them back.

I have a few occupants that are special. I have two octogenarians… I highly recommend getting a couple. One is my Mom who is sharp as a tack and can back up a truck and is not afraid of critters. She grew up in a large farm family and can remember WWII and other times of trouble. She doesn’t give up easily and can be relied upon to crack the whip or put the brakes on accordingly. My neighbor Jerry is in his 80’s and we grow stuff, share desserts and make sure we are both still alive. Sometimes I get home from work late at night and he will flash a flashlight from his living room that I can see from my carport. Kind of like Morse-code except I don’t know Morse code. I flash my carport lights on and off like a maniac in return. Kindred spirits.

After I saw the show I called one of my friends and told her the story about the wagon and told her she is in my wagon. We laughed and said we were stuck with each other. Her husband is in my wagon too and deserves a medal of honor. When we were students we used to practice procedures on him all of the time. Some of them were kind of unpleasant, involving a suction-cup type lens with goo running down your face…. He let us practice on him and quizzed us and really he probably could have passed the tests himself. It is good to have someone who will let you practice on them in your wagon.

As the years have rolled past I have lost and found and lost again the same riders over and over. I was confused at first and wondered if this was a good thing. The terrain is bumpy and not everyone goes the same speed. But sometimes paths cross and we can ride together again. One thing I know for sure, I have faith that if there is ever a time where I lose my grip and end up with a run-a-way wagon I have some occupants past and present who will throw up a road block.

The road of life is a long one if we are lucky and makes for a hell of a tale. Sleep well tonight friends, for tomorrow we are going to start to pull again….You can count on me, I am all in.

GGJ

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