When I was a little kid, I was full of energy. I should have probably even written that sentence like this...When I was a little kid, I had A LOT OF ENERGY! Anyhow, I remember spending a lot of time with my grandparents. My grandfathers would run me like a puppy...Grandfather let me ride in the little trailer behind his lawn mowing tractor letting me get showered by the grass confetti. Grandpa worked me in his garden, snapping peas, digging trenches...they treated me a bit like a grandson, but I loved every minute of it. I was calm when I was engaged in a project. Heck, I'm still like that! The grandmothers knew this trick as well, but their projects were different. They taught me to thread a needle, embroider at a young age using a burlap patch, sew on a sewing machine, and help hanging the laundry. But, at times when they wanted to shower or grab a tiny bit of down time, they each had a special little collection. I knew where it was. I could go and get it and play with it.
Grandma had a funny little white cardboard box, the kind a cheap bracelet might come in at Macy's, with two rubber bands crossed around it like a package. Inside was the most delightful collection of tiny little plastic animals. Tiny little monkeys, giraffes, and elephants in pink, orange and yellow translucent plastic. I thought they were treasures. Toys! Like Cracker Jack prizes! At the time, I had no way of knowing that they had been carefully saved from fruity drinks over the years. Each animal was once a drink marker, but now made one grandchild very, very quiet in play. I particularly remember these being the animals that would come out when Grandma needed a shower, which was perfect because my interest in them would last about the duration of one good, long hot relaxing shower. After five kids, Grandma must have learned a trick or two.
Grandmommy, my mom's mother, had a dusty, black tin full of buttons. She knew a trick or two, too. Just the miserly feeling of running my hands through the button piles made me feel rich. I would spend hours sorting and categorizing. Choosing some as favorites, casting others off as worthless...old shirt buttons in plain white for example. I bet, to this day, if I were to pick up this button box, I would be able to remember exactly which were my favorites and why. To be a really good button, you had to have some glitz, be bigger than the others, or look like candy.
Last weekend, on a lark, I picked up a wooden box and plastic bag of buttons at the craft store for my kids. As always, I spent way too much at the craft store. The buttons and button box totalled $7.00 at most. It is BY FAR the favorite purchase of that day. I got a bunch of projects to do, but we still haven't even cracked them. After days, the button box continues to amuse. I'm just glad the button box can hold a candle to the Wii and DS.