Discovering a lost, loved treasure

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 30, 2002

I admit I am a procrastinator of the worst kind.

I hate to pay bills, weed the garden, take out the trash, doing anything that requires me to be on a time schedule. My motto is "Why not do it later when you can do something else right now?" I guess that was the reason behind my finally getting around to my spring cleaning session at the beginning of the fall (F.Y.I., Sunday, Sept. 22 is the last official day of summer.)

After finally convincing myself I was not going to come home one day to miraculously find my closet cleaned, I dragged myself to the back corner of the house to begin my chore. I feel I must first mention that even though we have lived in Lockhart for almost three years, I still have unpacked boxes in the top of my closet. Although most of the boxes were the ones left over from our move from Pensacola, I figured if it was worth packing it up to begin with, it ought to be worth unpacking it just to see what it is.

One by one, each of the travel-weary packages made its way into a semi-circle on the closet floor. A fine layer of travel grime still clung to the bottom of some, while others hung open at precarious angles inviting me to finish the job. Box after box brought to mind fragments of memories, high school proms and cap and gown ceremonies fade into college art projects and writing assignments. Until finally, I found only one box remained.

There was nothing special about this box. No bold black writing on the side, proclaiming its importance. The last, thank goodness, left in the semi-circle on the closet floor. It said nothing until it was open.

Pulling back the packing tape, the four-folds opened to reveal a printed Florala News and The Andalusia Star-News lay folded every which way and stacked until they were almost brimming over the top. Honor rolls, field trips, ball games, class pictures and highlights proclaimed to all of Covington county my accomplishments, but safely tucked into the folds, protected from harm, was a greater treasure than any I could have hoped to find.

Undamaged, it lay undisturbed for almost three years, waiting for me to find it again. So great was this treasure that after packing up our apartment in Pensacola, my husband searched through piles of garbage thinking I had mistakenly thrown it away. I was truly devastated, thinking it was gone forever, but joy filled me now as I held it in my hands.

For some, a simple photograph wouldn't bring about such feelings of joy, but holding it in my hands, I felt as if a part of me had finally made it home.

Now it rests on my dresser, this simple photograph of my father, reminding me of happier times, before the war and before death, when my family was the center of my world. Cushioned on a bed of paper, this simple picture had a way of making my family whole by giving my daughter a simple reminder of where her mother came from.

Boxes have a way of piling into our life and filling the empty spaces of our home. Oftentimes, what we find inside can fill the empty space of our hearts.