A Tale of Wild Boxes


Urgency Day 410

500 Things Items 89-91: Boom box, Shadow box, and 6 Mason Jars

  • Purchase, purchase and purchase x 6
  • Lots of use, no use, some use
  • They’re outta here
  • Recycle, gift, yard sale

Boxes come in various shapes and with different intentions. As many a hopeful dating woman knows, very good things come in small blue boxes. This is a family story about furry boxes. Wild furry boxes in the woods.

Sam attended the most wonderful preschool, Hazelwild near Fredericksburg, Virginia. You couldn’t ask for a more bucolic setting. Two levels of preschoolers and several classes of kindergartners met on a working farm. Their classrooms were surrounded by ducks and sheep and horses, tractors and balers and backhoes, gardens and fields and trees just made for climbing. And all the romantic parts of life on a family farm were included in the curriculum.

By that I mean, three-year olds didn’t make friends with mooing cows one afternoon and have medium-rare hamburgers for lunch the next.

One fine fall day in Sam’s second year, both Paul and I went to pick up Sam. His teacher, sweet Ms. Brown, could barely contain her giggles. During a nature walk, Sam had made one of those language slips that inevitably become not just part of the family lore, but part of the lexicon.

She told us he was very concerned about wild boxes.

  • “Wild boxes, Sam”
  • “Yes, they might hurt the farm animals.”
  • “Wild boxes might?”
  • “Oh yes. They’re very clever.”
  • <blank stare>
  • “Clever and sly.”
  • “Oh! Wild Foxes!”
  • “Yes. Wild boxes.”

I have to tell you: I never looked at corrugated cardboard the same again.

Through the years, there have been many many references to wild boxes. Sam’s eventual use of the phrase was a rite of passage, from feeling the butt of a joke to the owner of it.

Many years later, in fact just the other day, Paul and I were on a bike ride. Part of the ride takes us through the grounds of nearby Danada equestrian center. As we turned a corner approaching the stables, we had a long sight line to a big tree and the mulched area underneath it. The dappled sunlight and my aging vision made it difficult to be certain that I was seeing what I believed I was seeing, but I remember having about three thoughts simultaneously:

  1. Paul, STOP!
  2. Fly away, little bird!!
  3. Oh my god! A Wild Box.”

The fox appeared to me, crouched and with ears and tail back, poised to pounce. A silly little bird was flitting around on the ground right in front of it, within perilously easy grasp. Why didn’t the bird fly off? Was it injured? Was it a mama trying to distract the fox and protect her babies? And why?! was Paul just riding right up to this frightening scene?

Now I know I have mentioned that Paul was a mountain man, Eagle Scout, etc, but I still would prefer not to see him wrassle any wild foxes. Or even wild boxes.

“It’s a statue,” he said, smiling.

<blank stare>


It was indeed a really decrepit, taped together, sort of mangy stuffed replica.

A wild box. In the woods.

A wild.. you know...near some woods

In honor of Sam and boxes and foxes, today’s 500 Things items are a decrepit old boom box, a never-used shadow box (which will go to my mom who makes good use of such things) and 6 over-sized Mason jars from the Christmas I tried to make flavored vodkas for presents.

Warning: A half-gallon of home-made cranberry vodka will make anyone see wild boxes.


3 Responses to “A Tale of Wild Boxes”

  1. boysgonewild Says:

    That was some gooooooood cranberry vodka, with or without the wild boxes.

  2. kara Says:

    Dang! I want those jars! And I want some homemade cranberry vodka!

  3. Sydney Says:

    How did I ever miss the wild box stories?! They’re wonderful, both of ’em, and made me laugh… but especially, “Oh my God! A Wild Box!”

    I’m so glad Paul was there!

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