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Our shoebox

It recently dawned on me that I'd like to move because my house is too small. Remember as a kid, you'd capture crawly creatures - a caterpillar, for example, and you'd need a place to store them?

Years ago, when I dug up the front yard, there were more grubs there than blades of grass, Sam, my daughter, stuck some into a dirt-filled shoebox. I thought she was on her way to a fascinating profession as an entomologist - until she ate one. Then I thought perhaps a TV chef exploring alternative protein sources.

Well, that shoebox is my house sans the dirt and grubs. I asked my wife at breakfast one morning how we came to buy such a small house.

"We bought it because it was the only one we could afford at the time," Lynn said rolling her eyes as usual when she thinks I'm asking a stupid question, which is often.

"How about if we buy something bigger?" I said.

"No."

"But we have too much stuff for this house."

The attic would bring a smile of satisfaction to a champion hoarder with boxes piled from floor to ceiling - and clothing, toys and whatnot. The rooms are so small we have little furniture. I don't mean the amount, I mean the size. Yesterday I got my butt caught in one of our dining room chairs. I've gained a little weight - but still I stood up and so did the chair. Sam thought it was a magic trick.

Hopping out of bed in the morning isn't easy. After hitting the snooze button, which is velcroed to the wall since there's no room for a night table, I actually get stuck between the bed and the wall. Like a humongous crab, I shuffle out sideways, my nose rubbing across the wall, the window and a framed picture of Sam smiling, posing with a captured grub she holds next to her cheek.

The house is tiny.

"So, clean the garage," Lynn said.

"That's your answer? Clean the garage?"

"I don't want to move."

"But you complain all the time about how small this house is. I can't help but hear you even when you whisper."

"I don't want to move, Bob. I like it here."

"But, why?"

"This is our house. Our child was born here. We planted the evergreen in the front. Sam climbed the oak tree in the backyard. You taught her how to hit a baseball here. Remember she broke the kitchen window and you were so proud of her because it was such a great hit you mounted the ball on a stand. It's still on the mantel."

I smiled at the memory.

"That's what this place is. It's us. It's all our memories and we're not finished yet. There are more memories to be made here." She took my hand from across the teeny table. "Let's put on an addition. We can take some walls down and make the rooms bigger."

"Including the bathrooms?"

"Of course."

"If it means I won't bang my knees on the tub when I'm on the bowl anymore, I'm in," I said. We shook hands.

"Thank you," Lynn said.

I never realized how much our house meant to her until I kissed her on the cheek and I noticed her eyes glistening.

Later, I was up in the attic looking for my Dad's fishing reel when I came upon an old shoebox. Inside was nothing but dirt. Written on the cover was SAM'S GRUB DIRT. It was dated 10 years ago. Now, my eyes glistened.

- Robert Curreli

Robert Curreli has stories and articles littering the internet includingHumor Press, eFictionand CommuterLit.You can find more of his writinghere.

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