Monday, May 18, 2009

Lucky Dip

The smell of sawdust always makes me think of childhood Lucky Dips. I used to cheat, of course, never wanting to take my turn till I'd found out whether long thin parcels contained better gifts than short fat ones. Then I'd scrabble in the sawdust. "No peeking!" they'd say and I'd scrunch my eyes closed and hold my head up high. Me cheat? No way! While my fingers inspected everything in great detail till I found my perfect choice.

They packed the barrels with straw instead of sawdust when my kids were small. But lucky dips still make make me smell the scent of fresh-strewn wood.

Then they used shredded computer paper. Then polystyrene beads.

We picked our youngest son up from college this weekend. He's way past the age of lucky dips. But helping him unpack looked like it might be a lucky dip for me, till I asked, "Which clothes need washing?" and he told me everything except his coat. I think they must run classes on timing your laundry for teenage boys. So now the washing machine's working overtime, and the son's asleep.

But the real lucky dip was a parcel that our older son brought in while we were away. It was from Kerri Nelson, an author who'd had a book-launch party for her story "Miss Taken" a little while ago. I was lucky enough to win a door-prize (virtual door, real prize), and the parcel, with beads in pale pink and green, was filled with delightful gifts that scented my memory with sawdust and fun.

So now I have more books to read; the owl necklace is gorgeous, and the candle, and the chocolate chip cookies...and... Many thanks Kerri.

"Little Sisters Volume 1," is one of the books, a collection of stories by "talented new mystery writers" that I shall "dip" into later today if I'm "lucky" enough to escape the eternal washing of T-shirts and jeans.

Meanwhile, when I empty the dryer that'll be a lucky dip too, for someone. Why do all of my menfolk wear black socks?

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