Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Golden Ticket!

'I think,' he said quietly, 'I think . . . I'll have just one more of those chocolate bars. The
same kind as before, please.'

'Why not?' the fat shopkeeper said, reaching behind him again and taking another
Whipple-Scrumptious Fudgemallow Delight from the shelf. He laid it on the counter.
Charlie picked it up and tore off the wrapper . . . and suddenly . . . from underneath the
wrapper . . . there came a brilliant flash of gold.

Charlie's heart stood still.

'It's a Golden Ticket!' screamed the shopkeeper, leaping about a foot in the air. 'You've got a Golden Ticket! You've found the last Golden Ticket! Hey, would you believe it! Come and look at this, everybody! The kid's found Wonka's last Golden Ticket! There it is! It's right here in his hands!'

….In a few seconds, there was a crowd of about twenty people clustering around Charlie, and many more were pushing their way in from the street. Everybody wanted to get a look at the Golden Ticket and at the lucky finder.

'Where is it?' somebody shouted. 'Hold it up so all of us can see it!'

'There it is, there!' someone else shouted. 'He's holding it in his hands! See the gold

Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Ch. 11)

Ahhh, the hysterical excitement of the Golden Ticket! If I didn’t know better, I think Roald Dahl based this scene from his beloved children’s book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on the Ukarumpa Post Office. After all, the day starts like any other day…just like Charlie, you know of the hopeful possibilities, but the realities of receiving mail from the US when it’s a 4-week minimum trip (and can easily range over 6 months), don’t lend themselves to certainty. But still, as you insert your key into your mailbox and twist it, your breath does catch a little in anticipation…will it be today...? Will I see…is that…could that be…GOLD???!!!!

And it is! It most miraculously is! It’s THE GOLDEN TICKET! Before you know it, crowds of people seem to converge on the previously empty post office, congratulating you and dancing over your shoulder. What did you get?! Who is it from? What does it mean?!! Oh, just look at the (folded, scribbled, yellowed) gold shining!

And what does this amazing ticket say? Well, I think Roald Dahl interprets it quite nicely:

"Greetings to you, the lucky finder of this Golden Ticket, from Mr Willy Wonka! I shake you warmly by the hand! Tremendous things are in store for you! Many wonderful surprises await you

(signed) Willy Wonka
Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (p. 60)

In other words, it means you have received a package!!!!

And so, you skip home (sort of, because you’re lugging a really heavy box across a rocky and hilly centre, along with your groceries and other errands) and shout out to your roommates the glorious news—Come! See, touch, and experience things that have newly arrived on PNG soil!! (Sort of…because it could have been sent three months ago, and the box may have been opened by customs…but so far everything seems securely taped shut.)

Friends + Package = Great Fun!

  And because they are just as excited as you are (packages are communal events, remember, bringing happiness to many people), they come flocking out of the woodwork with delight! Look at the bright colors (not yet washed in river water)! Look at the new movies or books (not yet watched or read 500 times)! Look at the beautiful craft items! Look at the... We oooh and ahhh and hold exciting items up to the light and murmur our amazement as we pull creatively packed items from the nooks and crannies. “Yes,” we nod, “this person knows how to send a package!”

The Princess much more awesome can you get?

Sometimes the things that get us most excited are really the most mundane (or pathetic…). Like pens.Or bandaids. Or a thermos, a computer keyboard cover, drink mixes (or tea!), pencils, tape, Kleenex, deodorant…among other things :) Nothing is discarded, of course—those Ziploc bags used to contain the goodies will now be put to use, and the package box itself will be put to work on our next village trip.

You never know what might be hidden in the packaging...

Library card envelopes...who would have known?
Some items do cause us to scratch our head…but the perplexity is always temporary. Who would have thought that missionaries in Papua New Guinea would have a use for library card envelopes (you know, those envelopes on the inside front cover that hold the little stamped card of due dates)… but low and behold, one afternoon I receive a call from my roommate, a teacher at our Primary School. “Uhh, Catherine, do you still have those library card envelopes? We really need some and we don’t seem to have any…”

Even late Christmas cards from my youth group kids!

Why are packages so exciting? In all actuality, it’s not the contents that pull friends to bend over the couch and marvel at the box (though we greatly appreciate the items too). It’s the knowing that someone on the other side of the world took the time to think of us, to find and touch each of these items, to pack it with care, to carry it to their own post office and fight through customs forms and attendants who think Papua New Guinea is in Africa, and then to pray it safely across the ocean and into our living room. It’s why I love the letters and the photographs and why seeing the handwritten address makes my heart constrict. We can live without the items…but it’s the friendship and the love that they carry that keeps us going and will last far longer than the thrilling book of Suduko puzzles.

Yes, it’s a marvelous thing to find a Golden Ticket…and this last week, I even got to pair it with chocolate! As a recent victim of lactose-intolerance, I was eyeing our refrigerator with distress. For the most part, I can live quite contentedly without dairy products…but it’s hard to give it up when a gigantic, gorgeous, chocolate Oreo cheesecake is sitting regally on the shelf, ready to celebrate my roommate’s birthday. Oh cruel world! Would I have to stand by in the pain of abstinence and watch them consume mouth-watering bite after mouth-watering bite of decadent amazingness?

Would I be able to have a piece? Oh the torture!

The Golden Ticket to the rescue! Thanks to my mom and aunt’s recent package (and a delayed flight for my roommate…sorry Rebekah), I found myself in astonishment clutching lactose pills, which will help my stomach digest cheesecake yumminess!!


Move aside Willy Wonka, we have a birthday to celebrate!

My apologies if your package was not featured photographically in this post. I love and appreciate them all!