Clyde: Keep a cardboard box or two around

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 4, 2022

A good cardboard box is hard to find.

The kind just right to put a chicken or a guinea hen in. You can poke holes in the side for air, fold the flaps in one at a time and tuck the last one under to hold. No duck tape needed. Maybe a twine string to make handles. Boxes, like people, come in all sizes and you never seem to find just the right one at the right time.

If you’re moving, there seems to be an endless supply at the liquor store, just sturdy and rigid enough. There is nothing more useless in the world than a wet paper box; too wimpy and the bottom falls out, like people, too. Always be on the take for another cardboard box, new or used. Most of them thrown out unwanted and unwashed. Remember the paper drives to raise money?

You can get a good UPS box at the P.O. but you have to stand in line with the homeless. They live in disheveled cardboard boxes under the bridges to stay dry.

We played for hours with empty Frigidaire boxes to make houses or covered wagons with windows cut with a matte knife and adult supervision. Flat cardboard makes the best picture backing but be careful it doesn’t touch the art and cause acid foxing on the print. It never goes away — stained for life. Like you guessed it, some people.

Corrugated, corrugaius in Latin: to wrinkle, the series of parallel folds, ridges, wrinkles, or furrows, are created to be resilient just for your please by people at Source One in Rockwell or Packaging Corp. or America, that started out past Spencer across the track from Click and Betty’s, as Owen Illinois in 1928. We make 100 million boxes a year out of 17 trees per every ton. The alternative, we consume 14.5 million tons of plastic containers yearly, made using 12 million barrels of oil. Which would you rather have?

The prop room used to have labeled cardboard boxes before they went to plastic totes. Plastic lasts forever. That’s the problem; we just buy more plastic to put more Tupperware in. Every day we average one plastic bag per person in the world. Have you used your old bag today? Used cardboard is a whole other story that you and Caleb with the County could take down in the dumps. The Sunoco Recycle Center over off Brinkel’s Ferry Road used to pay $35 per ton to pickers. That’s .0175 cents a pound. They sold it for $50 a ton. They closed.

The market is flat, get it? That’s why we don’t see trucks piled high with cardboard on the streets lately. Being good stewards of the earth is not an emoji on the screen. Where is the incentive for the blue bin? Don’t bother. But it’s still on our water bill. “The paper reeds by the brook, by the mouth of the brook, and everything sown by the brook, shall wither, be driven away, and be no more” (Isaiah 19:7).

It makes good sense to keep a good box or two on hand.   BOLO — be on the lookout behind store buildings or city curbs on Thursdays where good merchants “put it out,” free for the taking. But where are we going to keep them? Modern houses have no attics, basements, or overhead storage for cigar boxes, sewing boxes, Oestreicher hat boxes, shirt boxes, glove boxes, or shoe boxes.

You could always use an old cardboard box for perfect kindling for your wood stove, which you may be firing up sooner than you think. Not too many ladies are using cardboard stays in their bonnets anymore. You can only throw something away once. So, save your cardboard boxes, boys, the South shall rise again.

Clyde is an artist in Salisbury.