Journal

The Wells Fargo Wagon Rides Again

by | Jul 16, 2014 | Editorial

On my playlist are many songs from classical American Musical Theater. One of my favorites is a rousing production number from Meredith Wilson’s The Music Man. It’s called “The Wells Fargo Wagon.”
The townspeople of 1912 River City, Iowa, line up to await the arrival of the horse-driven Wells Fargo Wagon, hoping for delivery of all manner of pre-ordered delights. As I work, I can listen over and over to that song with its infectious enthusiasm and sense of anticipation. It has recently occurred to me that we still eagerly await the Wells Fargo Wagon. We just call it by other names.

We are likely not waiting, as the denizens of River City were, for “a cannon for the courthouse square,” or “a grey mackinaw,” or “a box of maple sugar” for our birthdays. No, it’s more likely the miniature Calico Critters bunkbed set my granddaughter was dancing in anticipation for, the Bat Cave my grandson craved that was sold out at all the local toy stores, or the out-of-print book that Amazon just happened to have for me.

We don’t line up on Main Street and sing. But we do go online and track our packages and open our front doors over and over to see if the Wells Fargo Wagon has come. And the wagon is big and brown – no horses in sight – or red, white and blue, and almost always comes when it says it will. Our particular drivers – UPS, FedEx and USPS – are very accommodating. They do things like bring a package meant for me and needing a signature to my daughter’s house when I’m not home, because “With all the kids here, I figure there’s always someone home.”  Right, but how did he know it was my daughter’s house? Sometimes I feel as if I live in River City, Iowa, instead of Big City, California. And isn’t that a lovely feeling?

Now, I’m a great fan of brick and mortar stores and patronize them as much as possible. But there are times when only clicking, “Place Your Order,” will do. And then we need the Wells Fargo Wagon. Aren’t we fortunate that we have several to choose from? And isn’t it amazing how a century has passed and we’ve come full circle?

The townspeople of 1912 River City, Iowa, line up to await the arrival of the horse-driven Wells Fargo Wagon, hoping for delivery of all manner of pre-ordered delights. As I work, I can listen over and over to that song with its infectious enthusiasm and sense of anticipation. It has recently occurred to me that we still eagerly await the Wells Fargo Wagon. We just call it by other names.

We are likely not waiting, as the denizens of River City were, for “a cannon for the courthouse square,” or “a grey mackinaw,” or “a box of maple sugar” for our birthdays. No, it’s more likely the miniature Calico Critters bunkbed set my granddaughter was dancing in anticipation for, the Bat Cave my grandson craved that was sold out at all the local toy stores, or the out-of-print book that Amazon just happened to have for me.

We don’t line up on Main Street and sing. But we do go online and track our packages and open our front doors over and over to see if the Wells Fargo Wagon has come. And the wagon is big and brown – no horses in sight – or red, white and blue, and almost always comes when it says it will. Our particular drivers – UPS, FedEx and USPS – are very accommodating. They do things like bring a package meant for me and needing a signature to my daughter’s house when I’m not home, because “With all the kids here, I figure there’s always someone home.”  Right, but how did he know it was my daughter’s house? Sometimes I feel as if I live in River City, Iowa, instead of Big City, California. And isn’t that a lovely feeling?

Now, I’m a great fan of brick and mortar stores and patronize them as much as possible. But there are times when only clicking, “Place Your Order,” will do. And then we need the Wells Fargo Wagon. Aren’t we fortunate that we have several to choose from? And isn’t it amazing how a century has passed and we’ve come full circle?

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