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Harker Heights Evening Star
Harker Heights Evening Star

Life, a box of new crayons

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Lynette Sowell

My front porch


Temperatures tell us that it’s still summer, but for weeks now the stores have reminded us that school days are returning. You can’t go grocery shopping without seeing mammoth stacks of paper and notebooks and bins of the other ten dozen items that the store marketers and school officials tell us the kids will need. Whether they’ll really need some of those items or not might be up for debate. One item usually goes into shopping baskets without argument. It’s that fresh, new, unspoiled box of crayons.

When I was a kid, one of my favorite things was a new box of crayons. Pop open the lid just right, and I’d find colors ready and waiting to make a coloring book page beautiful. The brand matters, too.

There’s simply no substitute for a box of Crayola 64s (complete with sharpener). Schools never asked that we pick up the large box, but somehow I always got a box of the 64s.

Do you remember the smell of the crayons, the scent of new wax sticks, waiting to create a masterpiece for the family refrigerator? The going debate during my school days was if you were supposed to color in the coloring book with true to life colors, or feel free to color your horse pink or the bear yellow. The purist in the group would always insist there was no such thing as pink horses or yellow bears, or trees with ocean blue leaves. Another debate surrounded how to care for the crayons as you colored down on your favorite shades. Did you carefully peel the label and sharpen your crayon, or just take the whole peel off? When I was a kid, the ultimate sacrilege was peeling all the wrappers off the crayons and throwing all of them in a community box. How could an artist stay organized if they couldn’t find the aquamarine?

Then there were the ones who really got creative with their crayons, coloring an entire blank sheet of paper with a montage of colors, then coloring over the entire riot of color with a black crayon. Then you could “draw” by scraping off the black crayon, revealing the color underneath. Ah, those were the days, the simplest of times when you didn’t need an outlet or DSL connection to be entertained.

One thing about a new box of crayons is that you have to use them to get any entertainment at all. You can’t just sit there and watch them, expecting them to do something. Your brain has to work when you use crayons. Pick one up, find a blank sheet of paper or a coloring book, and start coloring the corner where you live.

A friend of mine says that coloring relaxes her, and she’s well into her thirties. Maybe it’s the kid still inside her, remembering back to the school days when things were easier, and all you had to do for fun was open a box of crayons.

The saying “times have changed” might be true. People haven’t changed, and children long to be creative, and need to be creative. Making something beautiful doesn’t need to be complicated or expensive. Sometimes it just takes a box of new crayons.


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