Tag: writing

Mrs. Wooten’s Wagoneer

The Jeep Grand Wagoneer’s design virtually never changed, making it one of the few automobiles that connected entire generations of people.


Kelly and I had long since fallen in love with the classic lines of the Grand Wagoneer. The legacy of the car is renowned; many credit the Wagoneer for inspiring the concept of a luxury SUV. It competed with Range Rovers because it offered finer appointments to a truck-based platform more often associated with rugged austerity. Wagoneers were a staple of WASP culture, the preppy automobile of choice for lawyers and doctors and their private school kids.

These days, the cars are symbols of a vintage culture that floats further and further away. Put a Christmas tree on the roof rack and a wreath on the front grill, and you have enough Lands End kitsch that you can probably leave the kids out of your holiday card photo. I’ve always wondered about who drives these things and what kinds of lifestyles they might lead.

So when we spotted a Grand Wagoneer around town, it was interesting to see not just the car but who was behind the wheel.

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In this brilliant moment

Go back to the beginning. Start over.


I am thinking of the beautiful seconds in life, the kind where a passing glance is an open window, is a brief respite, a new beginning, a slow warming inside.

I think of an Indiana sunset, of being struck by the empty expanse of earth around me, the perfect altitude of clouds, the urge to pull over, stop the car on the side of the interstate, and gaze for a few moments.

This morning on the way to daycare, my daughter, in the backseat, looking out of the window at the world passing, watching like I’ve never seen her watch before, paying attention in new ways. She turns, catches me watching her, and smiles. I reach back and pat her knee, and she reaches out and pats my hand in turn.

I needed to get away from my email this morning, so I walked downtown for coffee. I see the fellow who runs the local inn, who pedals his guests in a pedicab in the mornings. They have stopped to admire the old buildings on campus.

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