Love In A Paper Bag

Posted by M ws On Saturday, June 9, 2012 7 comments
 This is the true story of Robert Fulghum and his 7-year-old daughter Molly.

It was Molly's job to hand her father his brown paper lunch bag each morning before he headed off to work. One morning, in addition to his usual lunch bag, Molly handed him a second paper bag. This one was worn and held together with duct tape, staples, and paper clips.

"Why two bags" Fulghum asked.

"The other is something else," Molly answered.

"What's in it?"

"Just some stuff. Take it with you."

Not wanting to hold court over the matter, Fulghum stuffed both sacks into his briefcase, kissed Molly and rushed off.

At midday, while hurriedly scarfing down his real lunch, he tore open Molly's bag and shook out the contents: two hair ribbons, three small stones, a plastic dinosaur, a pencil stub, a tiny sea shell, two animal crackers, a marble, a used lipstick, a small doll, two chocolate kisses, and 13 pennies.

Fulghum smiled, finished eating, and swept the desk clean - into the wastebasket - leftover lunch, Molly's junk and all.

That evening, Molly ran up behind him as he read the paper.

"Where's my bag?"

"What bag?"

"You know, the one I gave you this morning."

"I left it at the office. Why?"

"I forgot to put this note in it," she said. "And, besides, those are my things in the sack, Daddy, the ones I really like - I thought you might like to play with them, but now I want them back. You didn't lose the bag, did you, Daddy?"

"Oh, no," he said, lying. "I just forgot to bring it home. I'll bring it tomorrow."

While Molly hugged her father's neck, he unfolded the note that had not made it into the sack: "I love you, Daddy."

Molly had given him her treasures. All that a 7-year-old held dear. Love in a paper sack, and he missed it - not only missed it, but had thrown it in the wastebasket. So back he went to the office. Just ahead of the night janitor, he picked up the wastebasket and poured the contents on his desk.

After washing the mustard off the dinosaurs and spraying the whole thing with breath-freshener to kill the smell of onions, he carefully smoothed out the wadded ball of brown paper, put the treasures inside and carried it home gingerly, like and injured kitten. The bag didn't look so good, but the stuff was all there and that's what counted.

After dinner, he asked Molly to tell him about the stuff in the sack. It took a long time to tell. Everything had a story or a memory or was attached to dreams and imaginary friends. Fairies had brought some of the things. He had given her the chocolate kisses, and she had kept them for when she needed them.

"Sometimes I think of all the times in this sweet life," Fulghum concludes the story, "when I must have missed the affection I was being given. A friend calls this 'standing knee deep in the river and dying of thirst.' "

The journey with the people we love is all that really matters. Such a simple truth so easily forgotten.

-Author Unknown-

Yes, I know I am quite a sentimental person. However, now I can say I USED TO BE a sentimental person. Previously, I would react tearfully to such a story. My current sedate reaction is the result of painful jolts to reality. Life is strange. There are those who love and those who cannot love and yet, there are also those who want to be loved and do not want to receive love.

When paths cross and lives are enriched, it is a tragedy when paths diverge by a twist of fate, circumstances, differences or worse still, unspoken words.

Now, I treasure who and what matter, what REALLY matters. In this fast paced life, it is far too easy to lose sight of that. And if we do, it is our loss when people we love or who love us walk away, never to return. Sometimes, it could be due to death whilst other times it could be other circumstances. Whatever it is, in our pursuit of whatever agenda or objectives, may we never lose sight of those who really love and care for us.

7 comments to Love In A Paper Bag

  1. says:

    Cat-from-Sydney Aunty Paula,
    This story makes me sad..... purrrr....meow!

  1. says:

    cin2tan fyi : I dun watch Europe cup at all ....may be the final one in July !

    (the profile picture is testing my patience ...@#$%^&* ).

  1. says:

    masterwordsmith Dear Angelina

    So lovely to hear from you again! Indeed this story has many lessons for many of us. Take care and stay in touch.

    Have a wonderful weekend!


  1. says:

    masterwordsmith Dear cin2tan

    FYI, I don't watch tv haha cos the tv kaput years ago and is only there for ornamental purposes haha. I will definitely watch the finals via the internet.

    Have a lovely weekend!


  1. says:

    Antares Some folks specialize in writing stuff like that. In the old days it would appear in Reader's Digest. Today it would circulate the internet for years, getting forwarded to millions who will read it, feel a heart-string tugged, maybe even wipe a tear off their cheek, and then forget completely about it.

    Others, however, will take heed of the note at the bottom of the email which reads: Forward this to somebody you love so they will know how much you care. That's how spammers and phishers end up with millions of random email addresses!

    Sigh. How does one tell ersatz emotion from the real thing? It's like plastic flowers. When you get up real close they don't smell too good. In fact, all you'll get is some dust up your nose.

    Still, this particular story is well crafted - not sure if Robert Fulghum actually wrote it (just found out he's a Unitarian Universalist preacher, they're usually the more enlightened ones) and the sentiments expressed are utterly valid. In real life, however, Fulghum might have gone back to his office only to find all the trash already taken out... so he stops by Toys'R'Us on the way home and gets Molly an expensive gift to distract her from hassling him about her heedlessly discarded bag of goodies.

    Sorry, Paula, I have an aversion to writing with too much emo laid on! A bit like drinking oversweetened kopi-O. Hate the feeling that some smart-ass Jewish psychologist on Warner-Lambert's payroll is just pushing my buttons :-)

  1. says:

    masterwordsmith My dear Antares

    Thank you so much for your spontaneous and delightful response to this post. Like what I wrote at the end of the post, in the past, I would have been part of the group with tearful reactions.

    Older, wiser and more cynical now thanks to so many milestones, I enjoy the writing and ponder beyond what the story.

    In reality, I did check with many sites whether Fulghum did write the story and your are right. No one could confirm 100% that he wrote it and it is likely that he shared it as a message or meditation and someone wrote it as an inspirational piece which got passed on just like how you described it!

    Your realistic reaction is truly refreshing and brought a smile to my face. The solid pragmatism that you possess has given you much strength of character to be an inspiration to those who believe in you, like me and my family!!

    Thank you, dear Antares!!! Take care and catch up soon!!

    Hugs and much love

  1. says:

    cin2tan HEY, just heard the song from FM 'hey2 Paula, i want to marry u !'

    " hey2 Paul (bukan aku) i want to marry u Too !"

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