My sister Joyce spent a few years augmenting her income by crafting.
She made shelves, heart plaques, little wooden flowers, signs, and small benches. All had country themes and colors, and sold for multiple times the cost of materials though probably not at a level that could truly recoup her labor. She made enough money to put a room addition on her home, though. And gifted her family with small treasures, such as a wooden heart that she gave me with a tribute to motherhood and my infant son’s name on the back.
But by far her best-selling item for a long time was the bug box.
This clever contraption had mesh wire, a wooden frame and tiny door, and cute little insignia. A child could run with it, holding it by a little handle, and gather scads of creepy crawly things on a summer day. Safer than a mason jar, my sister’s bug boxes sold like hotcakes. I have a picture of several of my nieces and nephews holding bug boxes which Joyce gifted them; it’s tragically adorable.
I’m sure other people made these bug boxes but I never saw them anywhere else until I saw the movie, “When a Man Loves a Woman”. This classic Meg Ryan movie included a tender scene in which the husband tells his daughter goodbye just before he and Meg Ryan divorce. The little girl is holding a bug box and Daddy — played by the gorgeous Andy Garcia — asks what it is. When told, he replies, “I like a thing whose name tells what it does.”
Me, too, Andy. Me too.
Take “complaining”, for example. We all know what this word means. In case you’ve forgotten, dictionary.com says, “to express dissatisfaction….”. But when you click “Thesaurus”, you get no less than twenty-four synonyms right off the bat, and a couple of more paragraphs with additional suggestions. The first group includes “whining”, “grumbling”, “deploring” and “moaning”, just to name four.
I’m pretty solid with my “not complaining”. For the next couple of months, I’ll be taking that list of synonyms and examining my thoughts, my actions and my words for signs of complaining disguised as something seemingly more honorable. Perhaps, when I’ve gathered all those complaint-wolves wearing sheep’s clothing, I’ll cram them into a bug box and let their glow fade until no more harm can be done. And then, just to get back the light and warmth that they might have pretended to give, I’ll go catch me some lightening bugs.