Shoebox Season


Country MoonIt's getting close to that time of year again...shoebox season. Some more politically correct people refer to this time of year as "tax time," for others it is crunch time but, I would be willing to bet, that for most it is shoebox time.

I say this because for me, and many others, we start every year out with good intentions of doing a better job of keeping receipts and other tax information in some kind of order. However, that notion usually goes by the wayside and the year's paperwork invariably ends up in a shoebox.

I have such vivid memories of this happening every year with my parents when I was a kid. When we saw "The Shoebox" come out, we knew we were in for a rough couple of days. First of all, the shoebox came out of the closet and sat in plain sight for a few days. Every time Mom and Dad walked by it they would glance at it and give it a quick sneer. No one dared mention anything about it, the shoebox was taboo.

Then the dreadful day came when the table was cleared and the shoebox took its place in the center. The three of us kids were banished from the kitchen, given a few snacks and told not to interrupt unless it was a matter of life and death, literally. The few times that we did venture out to the kitchen and dared to ask a question we got "the glare" and turned around and left the room.

We waited for the annual phrases that we always heard, "What did YOU do with it?" and the response in a little bit louder tone, "I never saw it!" If we were lucky, along about suppertime all the receipts would go back in the shoebox. This time, however, they were in neat little piles and we knew we would not have the shoebox ordeal again until next year.

It is said that there are three things that are certain in life: you are born, you die and you pay taxes. So, why is tax time such a big ordeal every year for so many people? After all, it rolls around every year at the same time. So many times it is not even the issue of whether you will owe money or be getting a refund that causes the stress. It seems to lie more in getting things around and ready to file than the actual filing itself.

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