Friday, October 26, 2007

the box

It's crossed my mind a half dozen times this week. And then my online writers' group posed the same question: in the event of a disaster, what five things would you grab from your house? Since the question was posed to a group of over 500 writers, the angle we were asked to consider was what five professional things we'd save. But since this is my blog, and not my yahoo group, I'm going to take out the "p" word.

I'm imagining a box. It's probably going to have to be a big box, because one of my items--and yes, I'm counting it as one--is the distressed end table/box to the right of my couch. Within that box are family pictures dating from the early 1900s through to my son's graduation this last June. So don't challenge me on this. The end table goes in the box. And since the end table is just around the corner from the staircase, and I've got two framed photo montages hanging right there (one for Zac and one for Tera, showing their growth from birth to 18 and 12, respectively)--and technically, we're still talking photos--I might as well slip those frames in too.

Next, I'm placing my Bible in that giant box. Now, as one of my writer cohorts pointed out, the Bible is readily available online. Bibles are easy to replace--at least in my part of the world. But I could never replace the fifteen years of notes I have in my wide-margined Bible. The book of Romans, for instance, is awash with color. It's so covered with arrows and asterisks and exclamation points and regular old words that some pages have literally not another spare inch of white space to offer up. Some pages are barely clinging to the spine. So I want my Bible.

Without question, I have to take my laptop. Not only does it contain my books and all the correspondence related to those books, but it's bulging with novel ideas. I've half a town captured in those files, populated with an almost complete cast of characters, all pulled from the character sketches I've been collecting for a dozen years. The men from Rotten Ralph's are in there. So is the traveling boy, and Charlie, and Lillian. Not to mention, my laptop is loaded with recipes. I mean loaded. And many are my own concoctions. Recipes ... and 2000 of my favorite songs ... and more pictures. Move over, end table. The laptop is coming in.

And then, I think I need one of my grandmother's teacups and saucers from the big cedar chest in the living room. She loved collecting those cups, and every time I push something aside in that chest, in a quest to find the turkey platter or the gravy boat or a tablecloth, and I see one of those delicate, floral-patterned cups, her memory comes to visit. While I'm digging in the chest and selecting a just-right cup, if one of my great-grandmother's doilies or a long-ago Kismet score card happened to fall into the teacup and take a ride to the box, who's to notice?

And lastly, because it is a tangible reminder to me that God sees all the tucked-away longings and losses we carry, and sometimes brings the balm we most need, I'd put my mother's note in the box. I keep it on the shelf above my writing desk. As I think about it, her diary is right there, right next to her framed note. Might as well keep those two together.

Some of you are counting. But I say, if you have time to stand there while I salvage pieces of my life and count the items in my hand, you have time enough to help me grab five more.

So now it's your turn. Here's a giant box for you. What will you fill it with?


4 Comment:

At 10/26/2007 2:20 PM, Blogger Susan Kelly Skitt had this to say ...

Wow Shannon, what an exercise. I honestly don't know what I'd grab, mostly because I'm so disorganized that I probably couldn't find the things I'd want to take - LOL! I'll have to think on this :) Thanks for posing the question.

At 10/27/2007 12:04 PM, Blogger Julianne Bell @ Family Blueprint had this to say ...

I absolutely love your answers! How funny, my hubby and I discussed what we would grab just this week. He asked me if I knew what would be most important to him? I answered "Your family pictures!" He said, "Great idea, but I actually had something else in mind." My next answer shocked him, as I got it right. His baseball bag with his bats and gloves. LOL!
My items would be more sentimental like yours. But I have not figured out exactly which items, as I confess to not having my house fully unpacked as of yet. Yikes!

Blessings to you dear sister, Julianne

At 10/28/2007 2:44 PM, Blogger Ornery's Wife had this to say ...

First thing in the box would be my dog. Companionship like that is so hard to come by! Second thing would be my underwear. It took me years to find some that fit right and were comfortable! Third would be my scrapbooks These would more than fill the box, but how could I decide which ONE to take? Fourth the tile my sister painted for me. She is very slow, and while almost everything else is replaceable, I don't think this would be. Fifth the Antique clocks--heirlooms from both sides of the family.

This was a challenge on many levels. Do I cling to the past or prepare for the future? And if I am only allowed five things, do I really need more to live? Thanks for the thought provoking post!

At 10/31/2007 9:53 AM, Blogger Shannon had this to say ...

I'm with you, Susan. In that very moment, I wouldn't have a clue what to take. But since writing about it, I'm actually starting to think, "Maybe I should move such-and-such downstairs, closer to the door."

That's so interesting, Julianne. Baseball stuff. I guess what's sentimental to one isn't to another, right? :) I hope all your boxes get unpacked soon. That can be so overwhelming! And I hope you're liking your new home.

TM, you made me laugh! I would never think "underwear," and yet, as you explain it, I know what you mean. Finding the right kind can be a chore!

You hit it when you said, "Do I really need more to live?" My husband and I have been having that same discussion. I was bemoaning the fact that we don't have a linen closet (we bought a new bed and got rid of our bed frame, and are suddenly liking all the room we have. But I needed to find a place for the bin with the extra sheets and blankets). As I was struggling with that little dilemma, Dave said, "How do people in third world countries live without extra sheets and blankets?" I got his point. It's been sending me to the thift store with drop-offs all week.


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