Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Plain Brown Wrapper

From out of the blue, a small package arrives in my mailbox. The name and return address are not ones I can immediately place. Did I order something? Did someone order something for me? Is this a gift or a mistake? It’s addressed to my PO Box in Osceola and forwarded here. Someone who doesn’t know I’ve moved. Not a close friend then. But of course it isn’t. I would recognize the name.

Who is this person who is sending me a surprise? I search the memory bank (a dusty place these days) and come up with naught. I am almost afraid to open it. The enigma is tantalizing, and I set the package on the counter while I unpack the groceries and let the dogs out. It keeps catching my eye as I walk by. Such a puzzle. What in the world is it?

What would fit in a box that size? Jewelry maybe? A small book? Something folded small? A cell phone? A pack of cigarettes? It is definitely smaller than a bread box. Small enough to fit in my little mailbox. Sturdier than a padded envelope that might hold a CD or a tape. What is it?

This is just so strange. I hardly ever receive anything that I can’t identify before I open it. And surprises are few and far between. This is a moment to savor. Unless of course, it contains an explosive device or a mysterious white powder. It could be a box of note cards or a deck of playing cards. A box of checks? Maybe a tiny turtle for my collection.

Soap. That’s it. But then it would probably smell of lavender or lemon. A souvenir from somewhere. An ashtray from St. Louis or a refrigerator magnet from Sun Records. Maybe it’s one of those little books of inspirational verses. Or photos. That’s it. But why would someone I don’t know send me photos?

Why would someone I don’t know send me anything? This is a puzzlement. It’s a plain brown wrapper which might signal something prurient. But then there is the return address so that’s not it. Certainly it’s nothing I ordered from e-bay as you know I hate e-bay and have never availed myself of that sea of merchandise.

Okay then. Enough of this. I have to open it. It is well-sealed and requires scissors to cut the paper away. I clip the return address out carefully, but the wrapper with my address and the Priority Mail sticker go in the trash. Well…it appears to be a box of greeting cards. A kitten sleeping with a daisy on its nose on the outside. Kitty cards. Of course. But why…why…why?

Open the box. Go ahead. Open it. A small envelope with my name on it and [suspense music here] a DVD. A movie, “Running on Empty.” The card in the envelope has two kitties on the front and inside a message from a grade school friend (now married and hence the unfamiliar name) that I touched base with at the Reunion last June.

The movie is one of her favorites and it made her think of me. It is about war protestors in the 60s. Well…yes…I was that. I didn’t blow anything up and I haven’t been on the run ever since, but I certainly remember those times. This will be the perfect evening viewing for this pre-Thanksgiving week when interesting TV is scarce. Perhaps tonight I will pop some popcorn and kick back and watch it.

It continues to amaze me that I hear from people who say I have touched their lives in one way or another. Through my writing or how I live my life. It does make it worthwhile getting up in the morning! So, Janet…my friend from the fifties…thank you for the gift and for your thoughts. This will go on my shelf of treasures.


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