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A Denney for Your Thoughts – Resolve to allow for reflecting (Jan. 7, 2015 issue)

A small box can hold many memories, provide a history lesson AND inspire reflection that just might help line up priorities for a New Year.
Such a box sits between me and the computer screen as I write this on New Year’s Eve. ‘Tis, you know, the season for reflection and resolutions. This box definitely leads me down the path of reflection. Let me tell you about it.
It has tiny holes in the lid and top edge of the front of the box for the tiny nail that held it closed. You’re right, it’s a cigar box. It once held 50 King Bee Perfectos and bears the seal of the City of Tampa, as well as a sticker evidencing 15 cents Tennessee tobacco tax. Further indication of age: “The ordinary retail price of the cigars herein contained is intended by the manufacturer to be more than 4 cents each and not more than 6 cents each.” Elsewhere on the box the price of 6 cents is made clear.
I like containers–wooden boxes, baskets, good paper envelopes, etc. This one is extra special because it belonged to Papaw Martin. It came to me by way of an aunt, who was going through things in preparation for a move. She knew I would appreciate it and the items inside. She had tucked in family photos including some from trips she and I had taken together, my mother’s school picture and one of me as a little girl with my daddy on a motorcycle (maybe the only time I was ever on one).
Other glimpses into the past include a “certificate of service months and wages” from the United States of America Railroad Retirement Board bearing my grandfather’s name and dated 1949. Other documents dated February 4, 1939, are in good shape. Incidentals include the larger type of keys I have heard called skeleton keys. I am glad to add them to my small collection.
Going through the contents of the box, though, I was touched in a special way by newspaper clippings my grandparents had kept. One was a photograph of my mother and a friend who petitioned against congressional pay raises during the time Gerald Ford was president. Another was a photograph, published in 1973, which had been taken by my late brother, a high school senior at the time.
Others (indulge me here) bring back memories of my work as a newspaper reporter/photographer. There’s a photo of me interviewing Swedish actress Ingrid Bergman during the filming of “A Walk in the Spring Rain” on location near Gatlinburg. Surely, I must have kept a clipping myself. If so, I know not where it is!
A clipping dating back to the 70s shows me taking a photograph. The camera around my neck used real film and was attached to a strobe, which was connected to the battery pack I carried across my shoulder. I was holding a light meter to determine the camera setting to use. That was, of course, before the convenience of the digital age.
Whatever your age, have a grand 2015–I hope it holds a cigar-box-type blessing for you. At any rate, be sure your priorities include a bit of time for reflecting.