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. 😦