Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Growing Up Ralph - The Lunch Box

(SPECIAL NOTE: After I wrote the following story, I realized my Grandpa was one of many people I have known who has left this world. That’s a sad fact. Equally sad is to realize that when many people leave they take with them stories about their life that others may not know or remember - their “history” if you will.

So, I decide to start doing sporadic posts about my youth, teen years, and young adult life. Realizing I may only have 30 – 40 years left, I decided to start now. The posts about my younger years will be titled ‘Growing Up Ralph’.

I want to capture some of these stories for my kids, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and future generations. Hopefully, they will read them, set back in their chair, and say, “So...he really was as crazy as everyone says!”)

The meeting was over and the Park’s Superintendent was walking me out of the building. As we crossed one of the rooms, I noticed a display case. Inside the case was a black metal lunch box and a brass plaque that I couldn’t read from across the room. “Tell me about that lunch box.” I asked.

Well, the lunch box belonged to the town’s first parks superintendent. He never missed a day’s work from the time he became superintendent until he retired. It also seems like every day he had the exact same think for lunch: a bologna and cheese sandwich, a handful of chips, an apple and a candy bar. The parks superintendent stated, “He was the best parks superintendent this town has ever had, including me. That lunch box is a symbol of reliability and consistency.”

As I walked outside, I flashed back to when I was five years old. I was setting on the porch of my Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Like most five year olds, I loved spending the night with Grandpa and Grandma.

My Grandpa was a mechanic and from what I’ve heard a really good one. Every night he would pull into the driveway at the exact same time. When I spent the night, I would set out on the front porch and wait for him. Once he pulled into the driveway all the “action” took place.

I greeted him as soon as he got out the car. He always had a smile and a lunch box. He would ask if you wanted to carry the lunchbox for him. Of course, you did.

Then somewhere between the driveway and the house, he would say those magic words, “You know, you might want to check in that lunch box and see if there’s anything left.”

It might be a candy bar, a pack of gum, or a few pieces of candy but there was always something. And, it was always delivered to you in that black metal lunch box.

Maybe those black metal lunch boxes are a sign of reliability and consistency – or at least as much as a five year old needed.


Blogger Mountain Mama said...

Oh yes. My dad had one of those black lunchboxes too. I don't temember treats left in it but do remember the smell of the oniony egg salad or bologna sandwich and coffee that seemed to remain until mom washed it.
It's a great idea to write about your growing up. I think you are a historian at heart. Do you do genealogy too?

8:22 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

It doesn't get any better than that, for both involved.

7:50 AM  
Blogger 1 plus twins said...

what great memories. i can't wait to read more of them. what a wonderful idea to do this for your family and share with all us bloggers.

8:42 AM  
Blogger Mushy said...

Thank you Ralph for the visit, and for helping me remember my dad's old black lunch box and the surprise of finding something he didn't eat in there! I had forgotten that. He also had a large thermos strapped to the top lid and I can remember my mom filling it in the mornings.

Love it...I'll be back too...might as well link you too...I think my readers will also like your childhood stories.

10:55 AM  
Blogger Jamie Dawn said...

Well, if a black metal lunchbox is all it takes to produce reliability and consistency, then there are thousands upon thousands of American men who need black metal lunchboxes.
My Gramillo called them "dinner buckets."

Your "Growing up Ralph" posts will be enjoyed by your blog buddies and cherished by your family.
I look forward to reading more.

1:49 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Great story Ralph! I recall the lunchbox too, with the thermos! Even I carried one to school, without the thermos of course!!

5:16 PM  
Blogger Paul said...

My dad had a black metal lunch box for all the years I knew him. I wonder what happened to it?

Looking forward to your growing up posts. I've done mine.

By the way: it's a brass plaque.

9:06 PM  
Blogger Aravis said...

This really touched me. I've always loved hearing the stories my grandparents and parents share about their life, and I love that you're doing this for your family. You've just stirred a few of my own childhood memories...

12:36 AM  
Blogger possum said...

AH, yes. My Grandpop had one of those and he was one of the most wonderful men in the world. I was so lucky to have been raised by my grandparents. If there is anything good about me, I owe it to them, their love, reliability, patience - name a virtue, they had it.
Great story. Thanks.

10:40 AM  
Blogger nora said...

This reminds me of a conversation I had earlier today.
We needed some work done on the front of our building, and I was able to get it all donated.
A sheet metal company donated the material, another company donated the scissors lift and three great sheet metal workers donated their vacation time to do the installation (the project is saving us $10,000).
All week I've invited them to lunch. Two of them have joined us, but the third would not. I asked him today why he would not. He told me that he's been eating a bologna sandwich in his truck every work day for thirty years, and did not see any reason to stop now.
Love it.

2:03 PM  
Blogger Cliff said...

Thanks for a good one Ralph. I think you're on to something.

4:56 AM  
Blogger Raggedy said...

That was a wonderful post!
I have been thinking a lot about Orville since I am back out working where we used to work together in our old stomping grounds so to speak. He carried the same black lunch box and also always had the same lunch. Peanut Butter sandwiches, a fruit cup and a little can of V8..I miss him every day.
I think it is wonderful that you are going to post about the memories. It reminds me of mine..
Have a wonderful day!
(=':'=) huggles
(")_ (")Š from
the Cool Raggedy one

8:51 PM  
Blogger Miki said...

Hi, Ralph, Miki here.
Your story brought back memories...my Dad had a black metal lunch box, of course there was nothing in it when he came home, but he always left the house with it, until it broke. Then he couldn't find a black metal one, so he settled for a black plastic one, and a thermos that he always had coffee in....This is a week of memories for me, tough ones and sweet ones, thanks for your story and for stopping by my blog to offer your kind words. It helps.

5:52 AM  
Anonymous Sorso said...

Memories they are great!
I look forward to hearing many more!

I can live with out hearing the great tune composed by SOR him self.

“Sun Set” remember that?

I have the once #1 ballet here if you need a refresher...LOL

7:11 PM  

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