When hot August days grew short,
my mother piled my sister, brother and me
into our Country Squire station wagon
for a trip to Bruce’s Variety store.
Notebooks, pens, pencils,
metal lunchboxes, erasers and loose-leaf paper
spread out before us,
occupying two whole aisles of the eclectic dime store.
My brother headed straight for lunch boxes —
the choice could speak volumes in the elementary classroom.
Superheroes, cowboys and The Partridge Family splashed across tin pails
that when unlatched, revealed a thermos nestled in its top.
I, on the other hand,
stood in reverence before trays of pens, pencils,
colored pencils, ballpoint pens,
markers and plain old number 2 pencils.
My mother limited us to the essentials for the first week of school.
I argued one could never have enough writing instruments.
At home, I carefully unwrapped my bounty
onto the soft comforter of my brass bed.
A multi-colored bag served as my pencil pouch.
I thought carefully about the scribing tools needed
on the first day of junior high school.
Today, thinking back on long ago shopping trips,
I need only glance up at my wide array
of writing implements to realize
I may never be cured of this simple obsession.