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Updated: 12/26/2013 08:00:01AM

Life in Florida

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When my nieces and nephews were young they would ask for certain Christmas gifts. I always told them Aunt Barb does not buy junk. My idea of junk gifts included sponge animals that grew in water, plastic trucks from the dollar stores, snow cone machines they would use twice, or anything gone after one use.

I would buy bikes, computers, a desk for their rooms, good jewelry and video games. These lasted for a long time and gave me a better feeling about spending my hard-earned cash.

When it comes to making your Christmas present last for years, my husband has the market cornered. When he was five years old, Santa brought Ken a Radio Flyer red and black wagon. He tells many stories about that wagon. He would ride it down the front porch steps; I can’t imagine what his mother would have done to him if she caught him. He made a race car with a wheel from his wagon to ride down the street. The wagon was taken apart and put together many time over the years. It also sported many different colors, but was never abandoned.

The Radio Flyer evolved from a toy to a hard working piece of equipment. Many times my John Deere tractor has pulled the wagon filled with fertilizer for the yards, weed eaters, tools, plants, stone, paint, or anything bulky or heavy. At Christmas the wagon is decorated and filled with muffins and treats for my neighbors. We go door to door wishing everyone a happy holiday and offer a treat from the Radio Flyer.

We take the wagon to garden and orchid shows to carry out all of our great plants. Many people stop Ken and make comments about his wagon. They like to reminisce about the Christmas they received the same wagon from Santa. After 61 years the wagon is still bringimg joy.

Ken has another toy from his childhood. When he was eight, his father bought him an American Flyer train. Every year his father added a new car, crane, or something to his set. The train would be a focal point at Christmas circling the tree. He spent many hours of the holiday playing with his father and the train. The train still runs today.

I see the advertisements for the new toys and electronics for Christmas. Many of the phones, electronics, and toys are outdated by the time they reach the store shelves. The new and improved versions are already in production. I wonder what children will save to remember as a special gift this holiday season?

Remember to make your holiday memorial.

Merry Christmas to all of our customers, friends and neighbors.