Native Writes: Kids today have many advanced ways to play, but something is missing.

They don’t have small conveniences like the generations before them.

Remember the Bull Durham bags? Almost every kid had two or three.

They were small and coarsely cut, about the size of a pack of cigarettes, and contained plain ground tobacco.

It was simple for people who wanted to “roll their own.”

Mine contained marbles, jacks and rubber bands. Don’t ask.

Lost all but my shooter to my uncle, who took my “steelie.”

That meant war.

I finally took his agate.

He has found Jesus, but I’ll bet he still feels that loss.

Children today don’t have the little bags.

Some were more skilled than others and begged their way into nice bags that once housed bottles of high-quality booze.

My camera rests in a Crown Royal bag.

No one knows what’s in there. I try not to have it in plain sight, lest someone might think of the history of the bag.

My friend keeps his shoeshine kit in a slightly larger bag.

When we had to keep our pens and pencils organized, it was easy to go to the pool hall and ask for empty cigar boxes.

We kept other things there, as well. My grandfather was a clockmaker and kept small cogwheels, springs and other essential parts in boxes on his worktable. He also had tobacco bags and cans for the essentials.

Cans of tobacco were slightly nicer than the smaller bags.

The prank phone call: “Do you have Prince Albert in the can?”

“Well, go let him out.”

Most people knew about the various brands of tobacco.

Those cans also were used to store small items.

Coffee also came in cans that were handy everywhere.

Then there were Band-Aids in cans with rounded edges and hinged lids.

Scouts of both genders made portable first-aid kits with them.

We learned how to make cotton swabs with toothpicks and cotton balls, T-shirt compresses held on with safety pins and pack them in with bottles of mercurochrome.

Memories are made of this.

Every generation has its containers.

I still have mine. The lunch box I had to store my doll clothes is long gone. If it was left out for more than two weeks, it somehow disappeared.

My sons had lunchboxes to show off. The grandkids have insulated bags.

They’re spoiled. They eat lunch at school.

Shoeboxes are also disappearing. There is still one from my childhood safeguarding prize photos. A young woman wanted to know why I have to have containers for everything.

Somewhere along the line, I learned to contain stuff.

Suppose we could contain Washington, DC?


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