Friday, May 10, 2013

The Prize

Remember way back when, once upon a time . . .

 As kids we’d dive into a box of Cracker Jacks to get The Prize?  It wasn’t much, but we’d put our sometimes grimy fingers into the caramel corn and peanuts (never enough peanuts, right?) and dig around and at last, we’d touch upon it, pull it out to see what it was? Eating the snack seemed like a second thought to The Prize, right?

I don’t know that we ever kept it.  It didn’t last.  We didn’t necessarily save it.  I think the hunt for The Prize was the big deal.

There were prizes in cereal boxes too.  I remember my mom getting really angry at us for opening up the box, sometimes destroying the box altogether, and rooting around until we found it, usually stuffed at the bottom.  My brothers and I would race to the cereal cupboard to get to the cereal first.  After all, first come, first . . . 

Sometimes, we’d have to send away for The Prize.  That wasn’t as much fun, because we knew what we were getting.  And, we had to wait for it.  Waiting was sometimes a killer.  Remember little Ralph and his Decoder Ring?  The anticipation, his excitement?

How things have changed.

McDonald’s Happy Meals gave us a choice: this toy or that toy.  Not as much fun because we knew what we were getting.  Maybe not the color, but we still knew.  The anticipation was gone.  The Prize was secondary to the French Fries.  I mean, is there anything quite as good as French Fries?

And then, we got older.

At some point, we didn’t care about The Prize at the bottom of the box.  Perhaps we thought The Prize was silly.  Worthless.  Junk.  Kid’s stuff.

We changed.  We grew up.  Got older, perhaps wiser.

The Prize never changed.  We did.  The Prize still sits at the bottom of the box, buried under the caramel corn and peanuts.  It’s still hidden deep in the cereal box amongst the Frosted Flakes.

We changed.  The Prize didn’t.

Each of us has a Prize we seek.  What is a Prize to one is junk to another, worthless.

Wouldn’t it be fun to have that innocence once again?  That excitement, that joy, that anticipation ?  Not for what’s in Cracker Jacks or in a box of Captain Crunch.  But in the joy and the anticipation of . . . well, anything?  Anything at all? 

When was the last time you were truly excited, hopeful, joyful?  When was the last time you shared that excitement with someone?  Anyone?  When was the last time you gave someone else the gift of excitement . . . of joy?

It doesn’t have to be a special occasion.  It doesn’t have to be ‘deserved’.  It can be just ‘because’.

Maybe today, just today, to celebrate that gift, go get yourself some Cracker Jacks and dig around in the box for The Prize.  You may experience a gift of your own.  A reminder of way back when, once upon a time.  And then share it.  Something to think about . . .

Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!


  1. I have been enjoying your blog for some time, Joe, but haven't commented! Sorry. This one was really thought provoking for me. Thanks! It does seem as if age tends to modify our "palates" to speak. It takes more and and more to generate the same exquisite joy that a simple prize in the Cracker Jack box gave us years ago. Perhaps over time, the sensory antenna starts to rust. You've prompted me to re-visit the simple things that can still create excitement....Theresa

  2. Thank you, Theresa. Means a lot to me. Joe


Thank you for your comment. I welcome your thought. Joe