When I was young we had a station wagon and we never gave our parents flak

when, before safety regulations came along, they let us ride in the way back.


On any trip, when it came to my sister and me…the way back is where you’d find us.

Laughing together as we played games, fought and waved at cars behind us.


The way back was the most fun part of the car and if you need more proof:

We’d roll into each other around the corners

and on big bumps…our heads would hit the roof!


In the way back we pretended not to hear when Dad yelled,

“Kids…stop your fighting…don’t make me stop this car…I don’t want to hear a peep!”


In the way back on long trips it was easy to fall asleep.

The way back was built for imagining…all we had to do was close our eyes

and the way back became a fort, a jungle or a princess’s castle in the sky.


From the way back as we battled dragons or pirates on the seven seas

we thought we were just having fun…we never realized we were making memories.


But that’s exactly what we were doing…in the way back…don’t you see

before the station wagon was replaced by the minivan and SUV.


Oh, my children and grandchildren, strapped in seatbelts,

still imagined…still closed their eyes…

as their seats became forts or jungles or a princess castle in the sky.


And on long trips after all that imagining sometimes they’d fall asleep

and they still pretended not to hear me when I yelled,

“Kids…stop your fighting…don’t make me stop this car…I don’t want to hear a peep!”


But it’s not the same as it was for me…

for whatever story their imagination chooses…

The magic of their ride comes without the bumps or bruises.


That’s probably why as I watched my children and grandchildren grow up

In the car…as they played…then fought…then played again…

I’d smile…remembering when I was their age

in the way back…

way back when.



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