"In every walk with nature one receives more than he seeks."
John Muir

Monday, December 16, 2013

Where's the bubble wrap?

Where's the bubble wrap?
The scissors?
Packing tape?

It's time for mailing those boxes.
You know the ones-filled to the brim with goodies and gifts.
Gift wrapped but not many bows.
The bows are saved for the gifts under the tree.
The ones in the boxes are simply too smushed to manage a bow
and it would arrive all flattened, anyway.

When I was a little girl, and then not so little at that,
my Aunt Gen from Pennsylvania sent us a box every Christmas.
Not actually my aunt, she was my mother's official "aunt"
who took on the role of Mother/Grandma when my 
own dear Grandma died when I was only 8.
I saw her less than once a year, 
but she faithfully sent us a large, brown cardboard box of gifts every Christmas.
On the outside was a little white sticker warning:
"Don't Open Until December 25".

I can hardly find the words to describe the thrill of that box.
Can I admit here that I can't name one single item that we discovered within it?
Strange as that seems, it was more the wonder of the box--
chilled from the postal truck, sitting silently in our kitchen,
a treasure in itself--worth more than its contents.
The secrecy of the packages inside and that warning sticker
made me just about crazy.
I could hardly stand myself and the days went way too slowly until the 25th.
At least all that heightened emotion was my perception.

Years later, when my own babes were anticipating Dec 25th,
packages arrived at our door.
It was often late and we were eating dinner.
The  cold, bitter night
was dark when we heard the knock.
Never at our front door, always the side one that led to the welcoming, lighted kitchen where we congregated.
Trumping through the snow, the tired but smiling UPS man
hauled the giant box into the house.
It, too, was brown cardboard and brought with it 
the smell of cold and snow and winter.
Direct contrast to the wood-fired warmth within.
This one came from western New York.
Grandma's house.
Crammed full of colorfully wrapped packages,
my children responded in the same way I had, 
20+ years before.
Oh, could they EVER manage to wait until Christmas to reveal what those boxes held?
We had no warning sticker on this box so I opened it carefully with a big knife.
Each package was lifted delicately out as if made of crystal.
Tags read aloud and shouts of, "This one is for ME!" echoed.
Then, gingerly, they were laid out artistically under the tree,
guarded by the lighted soldiers and angels and reindeer on its fragrant branches.
Personal areas were staked out by each of my 3.

It is because of these wonderful memories that I send boxes.
At times I get disgruntled at the cost of the mailings,
especially to Alaska.
Sometimes the value of the contents are less than the price of shipping.
But, thinking back to my joy at the arrival of THE BOX,
how can I price THAT?

 I am thankful for the creation of the FLAT RATE BOXES.
I take great pride in shoving in as much as possible
then needing another pair of hands to force it shut while I tape it closed.
My rule of thumb is that not one more tiny thing can fit.
I recently stuffed some bubble-wrapped sweet potatoes on the top of the box's contents before sealing, knowing my daughter and her family loves them.
Alas, they arrived frozen and spoiled, despite my efforts of insulation.
It had been -35 degrees after all.
I just wanted to stuff in as much as I could!

Just today, before I posted this blog,
I arrived home to this big and decorative box at our door.
The excitement bubbled within and I set down the shopping bags and rushed to bring it inside.

Tomorrow I take one more trip to the Post Office.
The last one, I tell myself.
My excitement at this end is probably as much as the receiver's.
And, thanks to computers, I can track the box in its journey northward.
You know what I put on the outside?
A little white sticker warning, "Do not open until Dec 25th".
Do you think they'll wait?

1 comment:

  1. Oh so sweet...of course, i've always known where Kathleen gets so many memories and excitement about holidays from...but I LOVE this post!! I feel like you opened a window into your life (past and present) and I was generously given the opportunity to peek in..to look, feel, and almost smell Christmas at the Davis home. Love it! and I can't help but laugh a little at your stuffing those flat rate boxes....oh, kathleen IS SUCH your daughter :)