I found it at an estate sale that had advertised itself as a lifetime collection of craft supplies. Or something like that. It's been a while and I don't remember the exact phrasing, but the ad definitely over-promised. They didn't have much and it was one of those sales where almost nothing is priced.
But I had to ask about this box...and you can tell by the fact that I'm posting pictures I took in my own yard that it came home with me. The lady wanted two dollars and she had to tell me the story behind it.
Of course if there's a story I need to hear it. The box was painted by her partner's mother, whose husband had made the box. To me that didn't sound like much of a story, but to the person running the estate sale, it was important...enough so that I'll probably write it on a card and tape it to the bottom of the box. It's made of heavy plywood and the hinges need some TLC. It's also the shiniest tole painted thing I've ever stumbled across. Not that I've ever seen tole painting sealed behind a high gloss coat.
There are corn husk people on all four sides, from the Cornhusker pattern books by Bonnie Seaman. Three of them look like corn husk dolls, but the lady with the sunk has an unsettlingly human nose. She's probably the reason I bought the box.
There's also the fact that we had a painting from the same pattern book hanging in the upstairs hallway when I was growing up. And the fact that the handle on top is a lot like the door pulls in our kitchen were. Not an exact match, but close enough to make me feel nostalgic.