“Look, Mom!” Gabriel threw the back door open. “See what I found in the garage!” He held an old cigarette box. The kind that opens like a wallet. He tenderly pulled the top back to expose a folded handkerchief. Then, with small fingers, he pulled cloth aside to reveal two emerald green seashells. “Dad said they belonged to Grandpa Reas.”
Gabe had been in the garage with Lonny. They were cleaning. My husband’s parents are moving into a condo, and they’d gifted us with a plethora of stuff from their own garage. The small box had been in the bottom of a big cardboard box – buried under wrenches and drill bits and rolls of electrical tape. Lonny had seen the shells before. He told Gabe that his own grandfather, Reas Anneberg, had found them on the shores of the Philippine Islands when he served as an U.S. Army medical doctor - World War II.
The treasure wasn’t lost on Gabe. He wanted to see a map. He polished the shells with an old cloth. He carefully returned them to the box and placed the box in his own treasure chest. “I just can’t believe it. I really can’t,” he said over and over.
I’m so glad they found that box – a small treasure lost in a mighty jumble. It will be a keepsake for Gabe. But it meant something to me, too. It was a reminder.
Life is full. There’s soccer and homework and appointments and more. It’s easy for the small stuff to get lost in the jumble. Small stuff like a little boy’s kiss. Or a tiny hand in mine. Or the feel of the morning when the house is still and three little boys slip into our bed.
Such things are a treasure. Like a small, sixty-year-old box holding emerald green shells.