The School Bag

School has been out for nearly a month and my school bag has not been touched.

Those first few days of summer break were spent in frenzied, family fun – trips to the zoo, birthday celebrations, cook-outs, and long-awaited dips in the pool. Then there were days of catching up on those built up, back burner household chores.

Factor in a trip to New York City and there you have it. It is now officially four weeks past the last day of school. My overburdened school bag occupies the same place in my closet it has since being plopped down on the last day of school. Granted, every once in a while I might have shifted it around a bit to reach something behind it, but for the most part it has stood its ground, neglected and forlorn.

But never forgotten.

Trust me.

Every time I saw it sitting there in its unattended disarray I felt a guilty twinge.  Staring at me from the corner of the closet floor each morning it practically begged me to put it out of its misery.

So today was the day.

I pulled everything out of it.

It was not a pretty sight.

There were fifteen pens. Fifteen. A disproportionate amount of them were red. Who in their right mind carries around fifteen pens? There are not enough papers in the entire second grade to warrant that amount of ink.

More sensible were the fifty or so family pictures I had. You never want to miss a chance to have those on hand in case someone asks to see a picture (or fifty) of your grandchildren.

Two mismatched winter gloves, a whistle, my badge and an umbrella – recess duty remnants.

My emergency kit of spare reading glasses, breath mints, hand lotion, emery board, lip balm, Kleenex, Tylenol, and deodorant. I’m not sure why the deodorant was in there. I promise that without fail every morning I use antiperspirant. Perhaps I had stowed it for back up during parent teacher conferences. (Just in case things got a little tense.)

Two unopened CD’s. I just never found the time to rip off the cellophane.

A steak knife. Guess I should have used it to open the CD’s.

Three paper clips, a quarter, and a mysterious envelope into which I had shoved $25.00. I’m sure at the time I had a reason.

This year’s yearbook and next year’s class list. Both gave me pleasant pause; one as a happy reflection and the other as a hopeful future.

A black silk bag of small river rocks. I think I had used them as a children’s sermon illustration at church and yet somehow they found their way into my school bag.

At the very bottom were three handwritten thank-you notes, a black Sharpie and a single Reece Cup.

Job completed, I thought.

But then I noticed one more thing covering the bottom of the bag.

Glitter. Lots and lots of gold glitter.

And oddly enough, it made me happy.

Happy because I knew as I had sorted through that bag, my year had been a plethora of precious memories. And now, as a sort of delayed punctuation mark, had officially ended with a glint of gold.

Schools begins in a little more than a month. I’ll be bringing my bag with me with its special coating of glitter in the bottom. Hopefully it will be a sign of good things to come. The new year beginning like the old one ended.

With a classroom of little ones and the golden promise of sparkle and shine.

The ones that got away

Two snow days tacked onto the end of a generous Christmas break with a third day impending for the next…the time had come. I could put it off no longer.

It was time to clean out my sock drawer.

Sadly, that is what my life has become. Even sadder is the fact that I have fourteen socks with no mates. Now, half of those socks are ones that I never wear any more  – I always like to state the obvious right up front– but the other half  belong to socks I wear on a pretty regular basis.

Or are they?

Come to think of it, I may have been wearing mismatched socks for a long time now. It’s true that my bedroom doesn’t get a lot of natural light in the winter. And after I have committed to covering my feet in the morning I don’t give my tootsies a second glance. In fact, there may have been one occasion when I actually wore mismatched shoes in public.

They were both pumps, similar style, one inch heels. Well, at least one of them was a one inch heel. The other was more like an inch and a half which gave me an uneven gate. Very runway model-like.  After nearly tripping, I discovered that the right shoe was navy and the left was dark green. I like to think of myself as somewhat of a trendsetter. Others may have another name for it.

Still, back to my socks – FOURTEEN! How does one go about their normal sock-wearing life in complete oblivion when there are more than a dozen socks at large? That’s a basketball team roster of socks (with a few on the injured reserved list) roaming around the house somewhere between the dryer and my dresser drawer. Unless an unmarked package of neatly folded socks appears on my doorstep I may have to resign myself to never uncovering the whereabouts of my AWOL socks.

Maybe they’ve gotten into a pick up game with the missing forks from the silverware drawer.