I drive an old car–a 1995 Honda Odyssey van with over 200,000 miles on it (it turned over on the drive to Texas). A few days ago the panic alarm–which had not been on for at least 7 years–started going off and locking the ignition when I unlocked the car. It didn’t do it every time, just often enough to keep me completely on edge about driving. (A honking, flashing car is a real problem for an introvert who’s just moved to a new town.) What if I couldn’t get it started again? I didn’t even know where the remote control was anymore! Why was this happening?! It didn’t make any sense.
I called the Honda dealer. He gave me some tips: “Look for a fuse you can disconnect. Trial and error. Or a toggle switch you can throw under the dash.” I looked. No luck. I read the owner’s manual. No luck. I searched the internet. No luck. I changed my search terms; I searched again. Still no luck. My dad called his dealer. No luck. Finally, I remembered the Automotive Repair Reference Center on the library website. I dug out my library card, I logged on, and there, in a service bulletin from January 26, 1998 was mention of a Security System Control Unit fastened to the underside of the driver’s seat. I found the box. I threw the switch. I solved my problem.
I love libraries.
This morning I was passing through my local Wal-Mart Supercenter when I spotted something amazing; something cool; something to make a small child’s eyes grow wide with wonder. I saw PlaySkool’s Kota the Triceratops. I’m guessing somebody in R & D finally said, “Enough with the ponies—I want to ride a dinosaur!” And they were not alone.
I’ve always loved Radio Flyer spring horses and the quarter-driven kiddie rides outside of grocery and department stores (Ole Paint, Brown Thunder, and Trigger—straight from the Double R Bar Ranch). They were all the prompt my imagination needed back when I was watching Roy Rogers, Zorro, the Lone Ranger and the Cisco Kid.
But what kid is watching Westerns today? Now the horses are more often ponies—with pink and glitter and real hair manes that you can comb. Okay, sometimes they’re more like the Breyer Horses but those aren’t for riding. A kid needs adventure.
Enter Kota the Triceratops who reacts to touch and sound, and comes with leafy greens that he will munch when you feed him. Take a look at the demo. You can ride him (safely, thanks to the handle discretely placed behind his frill). You can roar at him. You can tickle his belly. He even plays “dinosaur adventure songs.” All this for only $300 and 6 D cells.
Riding toys are some of the best toys ever. Think pedal cars, Cozy Coupes, Big Wheels, and one of my favorites, the Angel Fish rocker. Lots of toys involve your hands and your brain, but riding toys are full-body toys. Which leads to their one big problem: riding toys are BIG and when I was a kid, no matter how much you begged (especially if you already had a tricycle) your parents were bound to say, “There is no way we’ve got room for that!”
So I learned to be grateful for the church nursery and the shopping center and the friends with garages. But now I’ve got my own house. And Kota’s only 40 inches long. Maybe if we get rid of the refrigerator….