Sunday, November 1, 2009

Living Juicy

Today I was digging through the closet in the front room. Ahem. I was panicking because I couldn't find Toddler Jack who was digging through the closet in the front room. When I found him, he was acting like a dog intently burying a bone, only instead of dirt being flung behind him, he was hurling cassette tapes - The Alarm, Motley Crue, New Order and Stevie Nicks - over his shoulder. Instead of a bone, he was burying a box. As I moved closer, I realized that Jack was burying a birthday card box that I received on my twenty-first birthday. Being significantly older than twenty-one now, I had forgotten that I had kept this treasure, and one glimpse of it sent me tripping down memory lane.

The Box Card Occasion:
I had to work the desk in the lobby of Coleman Hall on my 21st birthday. When I got the job, I was glad that I could work at a desk where I might be able to study, especially during the night shifts. But that day I was feeling antsy, as one might when she is pacing back and forth by herself in a silent lobby on her twenty-first birthday, waiting for her shift to be over so she can go hang out with her boyfriend - climb trees, sit in a coffee house, and do other freeing things that college students do with boyfriends when they are twenty-one.. or something like that. My pity party was becoming pretty convincing, and that's when Carol showed up.

My Friend, Carol:
She came with a cupcake - at least I think it was a cupcake, I can't remember. Carol was known for handing out half-eaten chili dogs at Christmas, so it could've been anything really. Was it a snow cone? Anyway, I'm going to remember it as being a _____something better than a chili dog/cupcake/snow cone_____ with a single lit candle in the middle. She sang to me right there in the lobby, a capella; presented the treat; and handed a very surprised twenty-one year old the box card.

Describing the Box Card:
Outside - Checkbook box covered in a thin layer of burlap, tie-dyed, handmade paper designs glued on top. Edges fringed.

Inside - Blue and orange handmade paper background, with the word "HAPPY" cut out of fabric, glued on top of the paper. Glitter confetti and gold, spiraled pipe cleaners loose within, and a scroll also made out of handmade paper.

Bottom - similar to description of outside, except for the little tag that reads "Carpe Diem Cards"

All - Completely made by Carol, except for the checkbook box itself and probably the burlap, though out of all my friends, I would vote Carol to be my "Most Likely To Make Her Own Burlap" friend.

Scroll Inscription:
"Ginger:
May your 21st year of life be filled with bushels of joy-filled juicy moments that just make you want to do the Happy Dance! Today I do the happy dance in your honor, for your life brings much joy and encouragement to mine. Peace, sister! Carol"

13 Years Later:
I sat down on the bed, forgetting for a moment that Jack was throwing cassettes (precious antiques such as Peter Gabriel, Europe, White Lion..) and that I was was supposed to be the enforcer. I allowed myself to remember that time when living was "living juicy" - that is being so full of life, that, like a bursting ripe navel orange, if one were to take a bite out of our lives, creativity and love and all the things that make our spirits abundant, would come gushing forth, dripping down our smiling chins, so much so that others wouldn't be able stop themselves from wanting a slice..

I smiled and looked at my son who was still at work flinging cassettes - U2, AC/DC, Huey Lewis, Heart.. Instead of getting on to him, I picked him up and cuddled him. I apologized for ever burying the box in the first place and explained that he should never bury it either. We should never bury our treasure.

The Message:
Live juicy, folks. Let the succulence of your life drip down your faces. Be creative - create. Work with your hands. Most importantly, love, love, love, LOVE. And to my friends and family, I am doing a happy dance in your honor today, for your lives bring much joy and encouragement to mine.

8 comments:

Jen said...

What a great post and awesome reminder! I am afraid I get boggled down in the day to day shuffle and forget so smile and really enjoy LIFE!! You're friend Carol seems like one cool gal!! I tend to always write "Happy Birthday!! Hope you have a great day" on cards!! Seriously I am going to think of her next time I write out a birthday wish!! LOVE IT and love you!!!

Happy NaBloPoMo!!!!!!

Tammy Howard said...

Oh, this is wonderful!

I keep a 'smile file' where I put all of the little notes, cards, etc. that make me smile. The premise is that I can pull that file out when I'm blue and it will make me feel better, but the reality is that I NEVER pull that file out when I'm blue, because I'm afraid I'd destroy it in a moment of misguided self-pity. Your box sounds even better than a smile file. :-)

Pam said...

Your post really brought back the joy and freedom of being a college student. My daughter is a HS senior and is so consumed with angst right now about choosing the right college, getting all the paperwork done and keeping up with her senior year classes. She is one big ball of anxiety - worried about how she'll handle college, will she be happy, what should she study etc. I wish I could get her to understand the joy that being a college student brings. I may have her read your post. I'm not sure if the significance of it will be lost on her, though. But, it's worth a try.

K a b l o o e y said...

This was one terrific post -- well-written, important message, great specific details, just a "wow" one. Thanks for reminding me about what's important. Live juicy indeed, and I know you don't mean a marketing slogan spelled across my ass.

Amy said...

This is a great post. I think you do get into life some times. Then we have our little ones that bring us back or a little box.

Sherri @ Luv a Bargain said...

That was great! I promise to "Live Juicy". Now I need to go salvage my box for some gool ole' remembering.

Stopping by from SITS. Hope our Monday is wonderful.

Helen McGinn said...

You have inspired me, on this, my last few days in my 30s. My 21st, I was at a funeral and although it was very sad, it made me realise that life is for living and I like to think I have.

Ah, the days of cassette tapes....

Craig said...

What an awesome story.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Living Juicy

Today I was digging through the closet in the front room. Ahem. I was panicking because I couldn't find Toddler Jack who was digging through the closet in the front room. When I found him, he was acting like a dog intently burying a bone, only instead of dirt being flung behind him, he was hurling cassette tapes - The Alarm, Motley Crue, New Order and Stevie Nicks - over his shoulder. Instead of a bone, he was burying a box. As I moved closer, I realized that Jack was burying a birthday card box that I received on my twenty-first birthday. Being significantly older than twenty-one now, I had forgotten that I had kept this treasure, and one glimpse of it sent me tripping down memory lane.

The Box Card Occasion:
I had to work the desk in the lobby of Coleman Hall on my 21st birthday. When I got the job, I was glad that I could work at a desk where I might be able to study, especially during the night shifts. But that day I was feeling antsy, as one might when she is pacing back and forth by herself in a silent lobby on her twenty-first birthday, waiting for her shift to be over so she can go hang out with her boyfriend - climb trees, sit in a coffee house, and do other freeing things that college students do with boyfriends when they are twenty-one.. or something like that. My pity party was becoming pretty convincing, and that's when Carol showed up.

My Friend, Carol:
She came with a cupcake - at least I think it was a cupcake, I can't remember. Carol was known for handing out half-eaten chili dogs at Christmas, so it could've been anything really. Was it a snow cone? Anyway, I'm going to remember it as being a _____something better than a chili dog/cupcake/snow cone_____ with a single lit candle in the middle. She sang to me right there in the lobby, a capella; presented the treat; and handed a very surprised twenty-one year old the box card.

Describing the Box Card:
Outside - Checkbook box covered in a thin layer of burlap, tie-dyed, handmade paper designs glued on top. Edges fringed.

Inside - Blue and orange handmade paper background, with the word "HAPPY" cut out of fabric, glued on top of the paper. Glitter confetti and gold, spiraled pipe cleaners loose within, and a scroll also made out of handmade paper.

Bottom - similar to description of outside, except for the little tag that reads "Carpe Diem Cards"

All - Completely made by Carol, except for the checkbook box itself and probably the burlap, though out of all my friends, I would vote Carol to be my "Most Likely To Make Her Own Burlap" friend.

Scroll Inscription:
"Ginger:
May your 21st year of life be filled with bushels of joy-filled juicy moments that just make you want to do the Happy Dance! Today I do the happy dance in your honor, for your life brings much joy and encouragement to mine. Peace, sister! Carol"

13 Years Later:
I sat down on the bed, forgetting for a moment that Jack was throwing cassettes (precious antiques such as Peter Gabriel, Europe, White Lion..) and that I was was supposed to be the enforcer. I allowed myself to remember that time when living was "living juicy" - that is being so full of life, that, like a bursting ripe navel orange, if one were to take a bite out of our lives, creativity and love and all the things that make our spirits abundant, would come gushing forth, dripping down our smiling chins, so much so that others wouldn't be able stop themselves from wanting a slice..

I smiled and looked at my son who was still at work flinging cassettes - U2, AC/DC, Huey Lewis, Heart.. Instead of getting on to him, I picked him up and cuddled him. I apologized for ever burying the box in the first place and explained that he should never bury it either. We should never bury our treasure.

The Message:
Live juicy, folks. Let the succulence of your life drip down your faces. Be creative - create. Work with your hands. Most importantly, love, love, love, LOVE. And to my friends and family, I am doing a happy dance in your honor today, for your lives bring much joy and encouragement to mine.

8 comments:

Jen said...

What a great post and awesome reminder! I am afraid I get boggled down in the day to day shuffle and forget so smile and really enjoy LIFE!! You're friend Carol seems like one cool gal!! I tend to always write "Happy Birthday!! Hope you have a great day" on cards!! Seriously I am going to think of her next time I write out a birthday wish!! LOVE IT and love you!!!

Happy NaBloPoMo!!!!!!

Tammy Howard said...

Oh, this is wonderful!

I keep a 'smile file' where I put all of the little notes, cards, etc. that make me smile. The premise is that I can pull that file out when I'm blue and it will make me feel better, but the reality is that I NEVER pull that file out when I'm blue, because I'm afraid I'd destroy it in a moment of misguided self-pity. Your box sounds even better than a smile file. :-)

Pam said...

Your post really brought back the joy and freedom of being a college student. My daughter is a HS senior and is so consumed with angst right now about choosing the right college, getting all the paperwork done and keeping up with her senior year classes. She is one big ball of anxiety - worried about how she'll handle college, will she be happy, what should she study etc. I wish I could get her to understand the joy that being a college student brings. I may have her read your post. I'm not sure if the significance of it will be lost on her, though. But, it's worth a try.

K a b l o o e y said...

This was one terrific post -- well-written, important message, great specific details, just a "wow" one. Thanks for reminding me about what's important. Live juicy indeed, and I know you don't mean a marketing slogan spelled across my ass.

Amy said...

This is a great post. I think you do get into life some times. Then we have our little ones that bring us back or a little box.

Sherri @ Luv a Bargain said...

That was great! I promise to "Live Juicy". Now I need to go salvage my box for some gool ole' remembering.

Stopping by from SITS. Hope our Monday is wonderful.

Helen McGinn said...

You have inspired me, on this, my last few days in my 30s. My 21st, I was at a funeral and although it was very sad, it made me realise that life is for living and I like to think I have.

Ah, the days of cassette tapes....

Craig said...

What an awesome story.