Ruth's Poetry Box

A Christmas gift lost and found

Ruth’s poetry box showed up last month when I organized my study’s closet. There it was, forlorn beside Dad’s strongbox, hidden under bins and loose piles of memorabilia we recently inherited from my in-law’s household. Those photos, certificates, and post cards tell too much family history to let them go. You could call my closet a vault of history and memories.
             You must know the poetry box is mine, a Christmas gift from my youngest daughter. It does not belong in the vault. Praise God! I declare it is not yet a keepsake left behind! While I breathe Earth’s air, Ruth’s present is a living thing and belongs in our living room under the table between our two reclining pink chairs that Ruth dislikes.
While Christmas decorating a few years ago, I stowed the box away in the closet and forgot about it. You see, my mother-in-law’s ceramic Mr. & Mrs. Clause take the box’s place until New Year’s Day.
I read Ruth’s quatrain inscribed in graceful calligraphy on the box’s lid.
The poetry box…
the window
to our
SOUL
            I appreciated anew her insightful invitation to contribute our verses to the box, and regretted I had misplaced it. How many windows of our souls had we missed while the gift languished in the land of the deceased? Just how long have I had Ruth’s marvelous present and not used it for the purpose she intended? I turned the box over.  
Merry Christmas
1999
I love you  RU
            The power of poetry had its way. I opened the lid. It seemed the several pieces of paper leapt with joy at the light in my eyes. I read all the poems, mostly brief. My California daughter submitted the first verse in February 2000. The last submission I wrote December 23, 2009.
    It is Christmastime
    Again
    And I forage for
    Traces still stained
    In my home and memory
    To carry with me
    In my celebrations.
             Unable to recall our whereabouts for Christmas 1999, I turned to my journals and found my Christmas entries.  “What a marvelous day with the Juets!”
Yes, I remembered our French guests, the mirth and baguettes and Nutella for breakfast—Christmas caroling with our dear, adopted Juet sisters. They hosted Kelly, my California daughter, when she studied at The Alliance Fran├žaise, Paris.
The Juets came for Christmas when our family needed them, and they needed us.  We comforted one other in the abundance of our waste places.
            There’s no mention of Ruth’s poetry box in my journal. Yet, I remember unwrapping the gift, felt the longing and promise my daughter inspired within it.
            Dear Reader, I wait for that desire and promise to be fulfilled with Ruth's poetry box. I pray for it, deposit another window to my soul inside—invest in understanding and amity. It does not come without a price.
The Babe, the son of Mary, guides our way.