There is just nothing that compares with the joy of unpacking one's house after a long absence. It's like Christmas only better, because there are so many more boxes and each box contains dozens of things that you actually wanted. (No six-packs of socks or ghastly neckties.) Like that awesome cow-shaped creamer. "How clever of me to have bought that, " I exclaimed, as I tore into the bubble wrap. Or what about those five -- yes, five -- boxes of garden pots? Who knew that I had such a treasure trove of garden pots, and how wonderful that I should have thought to bring them all with me to Canada!
Even inside the most banal boxes, there lurks one or two surprises, such as the spices my mother packed inside a box of cooking utensils, or the seed packes she lovingly tucked inside my tool box. Cinnamon, basil, and oregano to add spice to our lives, and zinnias, morning glories and four o'clocks -- harvested right out of her very own backyard -- to give it color. Sometimes the very best gifts are the most unexpected.