“That Story Lady”

Angela Scott, Author – Storyteller – Ventriloquist

Time Capsule in a Tin Can

June 22, 2010

In the middle of a 30 second cell phone conversation, I heard a beep and silence. The battery died, I guess.

“Only a year ago, I paid 99 cents for this cell phone, new.” The death of my frugal investment wasn’t comforting.

On my way home, I checked on the price for a replacement battery. The sales associate listened attentively even though it was minutes before their business closed for the day. His reply, “Only $37.95 for a new battery,” wasn’t comforting.

He must have seen the question on my mind because he began an abbreviated yet detailed summary about the steps to replace the dead battery. “This type of battery will be a special order; this week’s orders have already been placed. The anticipated delivery date…approximately two weeks.” My response, “Oh,” ended our conversation.

Just a few years ago, I experienced a similar situation. That cell phone battery died too. It wasn’t a comforting memory.

Digging inside the console of my car, I was desperate to find a power source for the cell phone. Instead, I found a silver tin container. It was rectangular in shape with a heart and cross embossed design on the lid. “What’s that?”

As the primary driver of the car, I was the culprit who had buried the unlikely version of a time capsule in a tin can. Neither did I remember the contents of the tin container nor did I remember why I had placed it in the console of the car.

Eager to find out what I had inadvertently hidden, I sat on the floor and lifted the lid off of the tin container. I found a wooden toothpick holder, two Bible verses which had been clipped from a newspaper, one miniature mechanical pencil, a few antacid tablets and a Theodore Roosevelt quote.

Also inside the container, there were two more newspaper clippings and a miniature hand carved box that could be opened only with secret instructions. It was less then two inches wide. A tiny red heart was painted on the outside. Inside the box, the palm of a hand was etched in the thin wood.

In addition, there was a miniature plastic bag in the tin that contained a collection of gifts symbolic of courage, strength and hope.

The first newspaper clipping told a story about Bald Head Island, North Carolina. However, there wasn’t a year listed in the article so I’m certain it was over a year old.

Another newspaper clipping told a story about two professors who had recently received the highest civilian honor bestowed by the North Carolina Governor, “The Order of the Long Leaf Pine.” That article didn’t list a date either but it did include the state toast.

It felt as if I had discovered a time capsule buried in my car, without premeditation. Each item evoked memories far beyond the face value of the item.

People might say the intrinsic value of my tiny memories was little more than a miniature tin can of trash. However, the epiphany I experienced while inventorying my buried treasure was worth more than a pound of rare gems.

I confess this recent discovery of memories led me on a path I had previously traveled but forgotten. Memories flooded my mind searching for understanding.

The answer, of course, was the realization that the tin container held glimpses of previous opportunities in life, a miniature blueprint for future plans.

The questions played over and over in my thoughts. “Why did I bury these items? Why did I stop? When did I stop?”

Waiting for my response, I remembered. Mom had a heart attack in July the previous year. I remembered the urgency to develop a new plan of action after that unexpected family emergency.

Dr. David Campbell said it best in his book entitled, “If You Don’t Know Where You’re Going, You’ll Probably End up Somewhere Else.” I found myself in quite a different place than my original plans.

Mom’s heart attack stopped me temporarily but the severity of her situation urged me to live intentionally with a definite plan, even though it had been temporarily misplaced.

Remember, now is better than never to prepare a blueprint for your life, even if you use a tin can.


Angela Scott is an author who diligently works to encourage and inspire you, and those with whom you live and work to continually find hope. Visit http://thatstorylady.com to get your free “Thought for Today.”

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