Everyone had agreed to meet at Liz’s house in Hinesville on a Monday, two weeks after Margie Appleton’s funeral. Well, not quite everyone; just those who were likely to have something in the box, let’s say. Liz Appleton Brunner was Margie’s sister. Margie, who never married, had left a sealed box with Liz a few weeks before she passed away at 62. The meeting day arrived and the interested parties were gathered at Liz’s.
“I really don’t know what’s in the box,” Liz told the assembly. “But I do have a few ideas. Also, I have noticed that certain items in Margie’s apartment are missing. I presume we’ll find those in this box.”
Everyone looked at each other with amusement as Liz cut the ribbon from round the box. It was about the size of the cardboard apple boxes you normally see at the supermarket.
After the ribbon was cut, all Liz had to do was to open the flaps.
“We almost feel like it’s Christmas,” Liz said. She was trying to delay the opening of the flaps a bit but no one would let her get away with it.
“C’mon, open up. Hey Liz, what’re you waiting for? Geez, let’s get on with it,” were some of the comments the assembly began to let fly. Liz had no choice but to comply.
“Here we go,” Liz said. “Oh, this is nice. It’s for Phyllis, my daughter. A gold ring.”
“Ooh,” everyone said.
Phyllis wiped a few tears away and said, “She knew I always wanted it.”
“Okay, now let’s see who’s next. Here’s one. It’s for Roger, my son, and it’s written on a card. Says, ‘Absolutely anything you wish to have in my CD and DVD collection as well as TVs and tape players’. Now isn’t that nice, Roger.”
Again everyone said “ooh.”
The activity went on for about twenty minutes more with ‘gifts’ of every sort having been labeled for cousins, close friends, neighbors, and, of course, Liz, who was last.
“This gathering has been so precious,” said Liz. “Now my turn comes up. But let me say this: Maybe some of you think I don’t feel Margie’s death very strongly. Well, I do. It’s just that I knew my sister well. Tears, sad faces, bitter thoughts, and things of that sort are what Margie would not have wanted for us. Margie was a happy person. She liked to see others happy.”
Liz reached into the box and took out the only thing left: a cake-size bride and groom with movable arms and legs. She broke into tears and could not speak a few minutes. Everyone waited until she could explain.
“Aunt Jewel gave me those two porcelain dolls after her wedding. It’s been ages. My goodness, I must’ve been nine or ten years old. How I loved them. Then I saw quickly that Margie loved them as much as I did. I was never positive that she’d taken them, although I suspected she did time after time. They just disappeared one day and we both searched and searched. After a week or two I got distracted by other things. I rarely mentioned the dolls after that.”