Ann Keiffer

Inside-Outside the Box

I take delight in creating visual feasts

when setting the dinner table,
so I have a small collection of napkins.
Rust with sheen for Thanksgiving,
Two colors of damask for dinner parties
in case I ever again have one.
Colorful French jacquard
for dining on the deck,
Soleil in script woven in.
Textured purple textiles
for everyday use,
because who doesn’t need
a pop of purple on a regular basis?
And a few sets more.
Collected over many years,
all those that never got relegated
to the give-away bag.
Not so many, really. Really.
But limited space is a fact of life
for the modern condo-dweller.
What to do with the napkins to
store them out of sight and yet
see all available to play with?
I bought translucent boxes,
narrow, with snap-close lids,
to tidy the napkins all and
stack neatly away in the slim
buffet that hangs on the wall.
Exasperation! My folded napkins
proved just a little too big,
had to lay crosswise in the boxes,
wasted space, and the boxes
crowded out the placemats.
I hated the non-sensical, not-right,
whopper-jawed, disorganized
waste and time-suck of it all.
My dirty little secret: I became obsessed
with org-porn on Pinterest, YouTube,
decor blogs, and Instagram…
Until I spied this mind-boggling tip:
Fold your napkins to fit your container.
My brain felt thump-whack plumped,
both sides, like a stale pillow.
Think inside-outside the box!
Fold your napkins to fit the container.
Just because you’ve always folded
your napkins one way doesn’t mean
you can’t learn to fold them another.
I felt so free, unencumbered, amazed.
I know. It’s just napkins, after all.
But suddenly I was looking around.
Where else in my life might I break free
from always-have-done-it-this-way
aged, musty mindsets?
What a joy to take a fresh look at life,
give my brain a plump, snap and shake
and toss it out in the sunshine to air!

Ann Keiffer
March, 202o

Image Credit: Digital Collage by Ann Keiffer


About Ann

I am interested in the strange beauty of brokenness, in transforming possibility in difficult times, in how we heal even when we can’t get better, in the alchemy of surrender, in the interplay of light and shadow, in the bounty of everyday wonders, in the gift of laughter…and writing about it, all and everything.

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