originally, the box held cigars from the late 1800s. when i opened it up the other night, i found it contained some old memories of mine, random things from days past: tassels from two of the three schools i attended, a stone i picked up from the shores of the atlantic ocean while living in ireland, a hockey puck from a tournament i attended back in the late 90s while still living in my hometown and a photograph from that tournament, my first driver’s license with a weight listed on it that i was self-conscious about then but would envy now, an old library card, keys to my sister’s first car, a dollar coin, and a notice from the selective service system acknowledging that they had received my registration for the draft (among many other things).
nothing in the box itself has much, if any, value to anyone other than me. even the box itself, though old, would only fetch around ten dollars from most collectors. however, it’s not the retail value of those items that make this box and it’s contents priceless for me, but rather it’s the memories that each of those items represent to me in my life: the long hours spent studying so i could earn my two college degrees, the summer i spent living on the emerald isle, the great memories that are forged between father and son, the many adventures i had while driving on my own (and the freedom that that represented to me), the countless hours spent in the stacks at my local library discovering authors who have stood with me though some very trying times, and the sense of duty i felt when i came of age and needed to register for my country’s military draft.
the things we carry with us throughout our lives may not have much value to anyone but us, but to each of us, the things that join us throughout our journey we call life, to us, one cannot put a price tag on those items. they are a small part of us, a glimpse into who we were and what brought us to who we are now.