Just a few weeks ago, you could find extra gloves and scarves tucked inside.
Joining those wrappings were gobs of tissues to wipe my tears caused by stinging cold air.
But now with spring pushing forth, my purse is not as weighted down by the tug and pull of winter.
Gone are the woolen coverings.
Dismissed is the mini-flashlight to brighten early nightfall during winter's dark veil.
There are still tissues, but not as many. One or two will suffice.
On the other hand, there are times you might think I was running away from home by the contents of my purse regardless of the season.
Books. Teabags. Phonebook. Fruit. Workout gear. Extra shoes. Newspapers.
Not one but two purse-size bottles of antibacterial hand wash.
More books. Knitting yarn and needles. Veggies. More teabags.
Water bottles. Mother's Bible. Sheet music.Two pairs of sunglasses.
Three pairs of reading glasses with varying magnification.
However, no matter where I'm headed, there are some items that are as pillars in my purse: wallet, keys, phone, several pens and little slips of paper with my random thoughts jotted down.
My purse, like my purple journal, has become a vault with my story ideas deposited there.
Topics that arrived while en route to work, to church or to the park. Subjects that popped up uninvited yet always welcomed.
They inserted themselves as velvety epiphanies while on my way up the block, down the highway or across town.
Instant answers to my next entry, like my notes stretched across on a Handyman store receipt: waiting tables at the truck stop and cleaning houses.
Or my scribbles on a bank deposit slip: mathematical truths that can't be proven.
And my memories noted on the back of a pay stub: name calling and tongue lashings.
My chicken scratch on a Fareway receipt: grocery lists and my purse contents.
A resident of Southeast South Dakota for more than 30 years, Paula Damon is a popular columnist, keynote speaker, and freelance writer. Her columns have won first-place national and state awards in The National Federation of Press Women competitions. Most recently, Damon's writing took second place statewide in the South Dakota Press Women 2007 Competition. For more information, e-mail paulada firstname.lastname@example.org.
© 2008 Paula Damon