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“The Box”

“The Box”

It was just an ordinary box made of corrugated cardboard measuring about 24″ x 15″ and 7 or 8 inches deep. The edges were well worn and the fraying corners and sagging bottom had been reinforced numerous times throughout the year with duct tape. What this box contained was not so very ordinary. The box was full to the brim and spilling over with ‘stuff’.

Oh, this was important stuff, I am sure. Last year’s marching show spread out on the very bottom, unopened junk mail, some fundraising brochures, pencils marked up with the hits on the podium, an assortment of reeds, and packets of Sweet and Low and some salt and pepper packs took up a layer or two. There were various sizes of paperclips scattered on the bottom surface, a few rubber bands, useless ink pens and dried up markers, a zip lock bag with something unidentifiable, some sinus medication, and a bottle of Ibuprofen. File folders of music, loose sheets of music, receipts for the band parent secretary, various pictures of Andrew from freshman year, a pack of yellow legal tablets, a trumpet lyre or two, and some flip folders had taken up residence in the box also.

This is what we called it – ‘The Box’.  Many times as H rushed out the door for work I would hear, “Where’s my box?” He carted this box back and forth, to and from work every working day. Sometimes the box made the trip into the house – sometimes not. Oh! He had better – lots better. I had given him a nice briefcase years ago – now he had two. His band parents had given him very nice bags to carry throughout the years. But…he always converted back to his old standby – ‘The Box’.

There have been many boxes in the years he has worked. They don’t last forever even with all that taping up. By the end of the school year that box had clearly seen better days. He would eventually  change over to a new one every year as his marching show arrived in the mail. The mailing box was the perfect size and that old one usually went into the music library so he could sort through it when he had time or it sat around the house until I shoved it out of sight somewhere. I have no idea how many are under beds or stacked in the library at this time!

H must have had his own filing system for this box because at any given time when asked for a receipt or a piece of music or whatever some student inquired about, he could rummage through it and come up with the needed article. He swore by the box, insisting it was the perfect carry-all for all the stuff he needed during the day. Andrew and I would kid him about it all the time. “Look in your box,” we would say when something went missing. I would  tell him I was going to manufacture “boxes” for band directors in school colors and sell them on the internet. I would make a fortune. He could retire early.

Sadly, that box was replaced two years ago with a briefcase. He carried it for a year with the contents bulging out of the closed lid. Honestly, I don’t know how he got everything in there. Last year the briefcase was left at home – now under the bed with all its contents intact. He carried nothing last year – maybe his scores back and forth, leaving them mostly to sleep in the back seat when he came in or scattered on the coffee table overnight. Now two more years before retirement I wonder what he will do this year? Should I find him a fresh new  empty box to fill?

I miss that box. 😦

Elle

 

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About Elle Knowles

Elle Knowles lives in the Florida Panhandle with her husband and off-at-college-most-of-the-time son. She has four daughters, one son, and eleven beautiful grandchildren. 'Crossing the Line' is her first novel. The sequel 'What Line' is a work in progress.

21 responses »

  1. This was a great post. Thanks for sharing it today.

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  2. Reblogged this on Finding Myself Through Writing and commented:

    As I have been cleaning and organizing this week, I came across a box. It’s not just an ordinary box. It’s a special box and you will have to read on down this post to realize how special it is. Half of a school year has slipped by since I wrote this post and H has no interest in picking another box. It looks like he is downsizing a bit in preparing for retirement. He still has about eighteen more months to go – two more concert seasons and one more marching season. It’s a bittersweet time for both of us as we count down the events and the goals left for him to accomplish. Hope you enjoy the story!

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  3. Elle, how about an almost indestructible Tupperware container? A very large one.

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  4. Great post. . . The box sure looks like it worked perfectly for him over the years. I think that you should help him find a new one. 🙂

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  5. This is such a great post Elle. This is about yours and H’s life. 🙂

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  6. So basically his box is just like a woman’s purse! 🙂

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  7. I LOVED THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It’s so poignant and tells you so much about him. I makes me want my own box and hope he gets another. Its contents are priceless. Print this out…it’s great.

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