Before I post the column for this week, let me take a moment to thank everyone who noticed my column hasn’t appeared in the print edition of the Mobile, Birmingham and Huntsville papers for the last few weeks. There’s a new computer system at AL.com, and with that comes a different way of loading up the story and communicating with people in other offices. It was a human slip-up, nothing sneaky or weird. They didn’t have me tied up in a basement somewhere, I promise! I know many of you missed my Easter column, but remember, you can always find my stories here on the blog. You can sign up in the right-hand sidebar for email alerts when I post something new, or follow my facebook page HERE. You are the best readers ever, and I thank you so much for keeping in touch!
Treasures . . .
Like most little boys, my youngest son always loved to collect doo-dads and what-nots. The sharper and more forbidden, the better. My father was no help at all and supplied him with a steady stream of pocket knives, firecrackers, matches, and fishing lures. “Let them be boys” daddy would say about my two wiggly guys.
Joe loved to organize things and when he comes home from college, I always hope he’ll take pity on me and organize my plastic bowl cabinet — you know, the Tupperware, Rubbermaid, Cool-whip and yogurt container cabinet all Southern women have so we can sensibly carry food to friends.
When he was young, Joe would find little boxes here and there, about the size of a cigar box, and would neatly organize his treasures. One day, he told me, “I love boxes full of shiny magnificent things!” From that point forward, we always talked about “boxes full of shiny magnificent things.”
The boxes held the contraband from my Dad as well as Joe’s favorite Hot Wheel cars, polished rocks, marbles, rubber bands, nerf bullets, money — both the round and folding kind, and general things of interest he’d find here or there.
Southern girls often had the tradition of creating a hope chest where they’d store precious treasures for their someday-sure-to-happen marriages. My mother never started a hope chest for me so I wouldn’t be sad in case no man ever wanted me (hold on while I die laughing at that, darling).
Without a hope chest, and never having had a shiny box full of magnificent things, my dad built a small wooden box for me that holds paper treasures. Cards and letters from grandparents, friends and a few old boyfriends (never to be released, in case any of you want to run for office). Notes my boys wrote on the back of offering envelopes in church, telling me I was the best mom ever (and P.S. what are we having for lunch?). My treasure box holds every letter and card my husband ever wrote me from college till this day and includes a photo of my grandmother riding a camel on her trip to Egypt. A letter Daddy wrote after I went to college, that at first, I thought was just run-of-the-mill news from home, but now as a parent with children in college, I can read between the lines and can hear the sadness in each sentence as he clearly missed me. My treasure box also holds a bumper sticker from a time when I was young (and foolish) that says, “Vote for Perot.” What can I say? I liked his charts and graphs, and we all go through a rebellious phase, right?
Most things we treasure won’t fit into a box. Friends, family, love and laughter, but the little things we can hold and shove in a tiny box are what trigger those larger lifetime jewels. Don’t you think giving the gift of an empty treasure box to someone is a great idea? It opens up endless possibilities of searching, discovering, examining and finding what matters. What would be in your box full of shiny magnificent things?