The boy in the box
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
Nothing redefines the word “treasure” more than the citywide spring/fall cleanup days.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve found a few treasures now and again myself.
A snow shovel, a rocking chair, some books.
Kid #2 brought home a trumpet one year and played the reveille in the mornings just to annoy ALL the siblings and his mother ALL at once. What a time saver for him, a treasure indeed.
Some people are a tad overzealous in their hunt for treasure.
I’ve given considerable thought to labeling certain garbage bags as “Complete and Total Garbage ... Nothing to see here, folks. There is nothing in here that hasn’t already been destroyed by four children, duct-taped back together more than once and then disintegrated to such an utter state of crap that it finally fell apart and fit in this bag.”
You know, just to help curb shoppers discern which bags are really not worth violently ripping open and rifling through in the hope of finding buried treasure beneath the coffee filters and ramen noodle wrappers that they’ve now left scattered on my lawn.
A bored Kid #4 was tracing raindrops with his finger on the living room window one day this drizzly weekend and saw a box bumping down the middle of the road like a tumbleweed in the wake of the cleanup days.
“Mom! There’s a box in the road. I NEED that box!”
Yeah, just what we need. More trash.
He insisted he really NEEDED that box. There was nothing especially unique about the box. It was brown, cardboard and of typical box shape, a little on the large side and barely damp from the weather.
Kid #4 is 8 and hasn’t played with a box in several years, but here was a box big enough for him to climb in just blowing down the road.
It was fate.
A divine gift from the box gods.
So I gave in and he bolted outside to retrieve his box — in his soon-to-be-semi-muddy-once-white-now-slightly-wet socks, because taking time to put shoes on could have cost him to lose the box to someone else who might have seen it for the treasure it was.
I watched out the window as he proudly wrestled the box across the lawn and into the kitchen where I was cooking rainy day pancakes for dinner.
He was chattering excitedly about all the possibilities his empty box held.
He parked it on the corner of “Under my feet” and “Directly in front of the fridge” because that’s clearly the best place to park a box while someone slaves away flipping flapjacks to feed the masses.
The box has floated around the house the last few days. It’s been in the living room, kitchen and bedroom, and I was just starting to think he was losing interest until this morning.
I called Kid #3 from work to make sure everyone was up and getting ready for school.
She seemed confused that I asked if Kid #4 was up. She informed me he wasn’t there.
I told her of course he was there, because he snored all night in my bed and he was there when I left for work. (I was on time, I might add.)
After a search of both my bed and his bed, the bathroom, and his typical morning hiding spots where he can get away with five more minutes of sleep, guess where he was?
In the box.
Now furnished with a pillow and blanket.
I think I want my very own empty box full of possibilities for Mother’s Day.
Leave one on the curb for me.
Stefanie Freeman is a Jefferson resident currently serving 18 to life as a mother of four.