Thursday, March 17, 2011



You’ve seen those zany adds that asks “What’s in your wallet?” What I want to know is “What’s in your treasure box?” You do have a treasure box, don’t you? Of course you do. Is it an old cigar box, a cookie tin, or an old hat box? Is it a special box that someone made for you? Why do we save the things we do? One man’s trash is another man’s treasure? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder? One never knows, do one?

Both my husband and I have treasure boxes of our own. My husband’s, an elegant brass box with the Tokugawa crest on the lid, contains, among other things, a Swan Vesta match box filled with stones he polished, a Cattaraugus pocket knife given to him by a dear friend, his dog tags, a blue-ribboned Boy Scout medal, a few hand-forged cut nails, a Kennedy half dollar, and an ancient pack of Gillette Blue Blades. “Do you have plenty?“ - no, there are only two blades left from the pack of five.
Mine, a wooden box toped with a cross stitch piece done by my daughter-in-law, holds several different whistles, including one from Oscar Mayer Wieners; a sandalwood fan; a boot-shape piece of rock from Les Baux-de-Provence; a red, white, and blue ribbon rosette given to me in Oslo to wear to celebrate Norwegian Independence Day one Setende Mai, the Seventeenth of May; and a palm-size, bird-shape pillow made of green felt. This was my oldest granddaughter’s first sewing project.

Many parents keep boxes of their children’s things: hospital I.D. bracelets, baby booties, a tress from a child’s first haircut, first drawings, report cards. These things mean a lot to a parent, but little, until later years, to a child. Treasure boxes are a great gift for children aged about four or older. Children love little drawers and compartments. A single-layer tackle box is a great starter box for a kid. The partitions can be moved around to suit their whims, and the boxes are practically indestructible. They can fill the little spaces with all sorts of utterly useless things that they just have to keep.

Children take great pleasure in showing off their treasures to any interested grownup, and they like to have grownups return the favor. We keep some neat stuff in what we call the Nature Box. It too is a tackle box, full of shells, rocks, nuts and seeds, pretty feathers, an arrowhead or two, shed snake skins, plus a few dried insects like a big cicada and some little, emerald-green flies. These never cease to fascinate our younger grandchildren.

I get a bit nostalgic when think about the recording Loretta Young made of the story of The Littlest Angel. Now, along with many an old radio show, it can be found online. The end to the charming tale of the Littlest Angel is that his gift, a humble treasure box, containing a butterfly with golden wings, a sky blue bird’s egg, two white stones, and his beloved dog’s collar, became the shining star of Bethlehem.

(originally entered December 8, 2010)

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