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Box of love brings family together
Northern News Services
Published Monday, February 21, 2011
Love was in the air at Aklavik's annual Valentine's Day box social last weekend, as sweethearts packed lunches for two into boxes carefully decorated with that special someone in mind, delighting as spouses and friends bid on the chance to share a meal together. Some of the 18 participants even bought back their own boxes, just to make sure their goodies ended up in the right hands. Not Fiona Joe. The Inuvik mom hoped only that her little labour of love might bring some joy to someone else.
She had no idea it would start a bidding war and end up bringing together relatives from Aklavik, Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk.
Joe was staying at her grandmother's house in Aklavik with her newborn baby over Valentine's weekend and wasn't able to personally deliver her artfully crafted lunch box to the social, a coincidence that initially swept an air of mystery over the creation and its contents. At first, not everyone knew who made it or what was inside it, but at a glance they knew they wanted it - if only for the design.
Joe spent two days constructing the purple cardboard house with an opening roof and detachable chimney, festive hearts plastered all over the siding. Inside she placed shareable snacks - crackers, fruit cups, juice boxes - not knowing who would later enjoy the treats in her open little home.
"I wanted to enter the contest last year, but I didn't have the time," Joe said. "So this year I just decided to jump in to see if I could win."
And win she did, at the expense of her aunt, Joanne Steen of Tuk. Steen put up a total of $141 to become the event's highest bidder.
"She's my niece and I just thought I'd bid on it," Steen laughed, explaining she was feeling generous that day. "It was a nice little house - it was fun."
But the gifting didn't stop there. Seeing there was enough food inside for a couple, Steen gave the box to her daughter and son-in-law in Inuvik, where Joe had begun dreaming up her creative entry. She wasn't surprised the box stayed in the family - her relatives, she said, have always been full of love and very much into Valentine's Day.
"The community always gets together here in Aklavik," she said. "It's just something fun to do this time of year."