Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Mail Mix-Ups

I'm taking the week off, sleeping in and doing those things that I never seem to have time for otherwise. Exciting stuff like replacing the front porch light when the sun is up and taking my recycling to get redeemed when they're actually open.

My roommate loves to get the mail and checks the mailbox every evening when she gets home, before she even unlocks the door. Me, I couldn't care less. But because I know she likes it, I went out to the curb in the middle of the day and got our mail. It was the Pennysaver, with a few pages of ads tucked inside, and a mass mailing of some sort on glossy paper. I checked the name to see if it was for me (unlikely), my roommate, her late father who died two years ago, or her late husband who died in 2004. About half the time, the two men get more mail than the two of us women do.

But that other piece of mail had somebody else's name on it, so I checked the address, and it was the neighbors two doors up the hill. I went over there and opened their mailbox, but they must like the mail as much as my roomie does because it was already empty. Then I noticed somebody was in the car in the driveway, so I walked up to her (startled her) and told her that they gave us her mail. As I handed it to her I said, "Looks exciting," in that way that, combined with the eyebrows lifting, says it looks nothing of the sort. She chuckled and said she'd get right on it, and I went back home.

On the short walk, though, I was reminded of my childhood. That was the time when only rural streets had the mailboxes all the way out by the curb. Normal people in town had the mailbox mounted on the house by the front door, and our mailman parked his modified-Jeep vehicle on some other street, filled up his bag on wheels, and walked down one side of our long, long cul-de-sac and up the other.

Most of the moms on our street stayed at home raising the kids, and they got to know the mailman pretty well (my brother and I were summertime friends with the garbageman, too, but that's another story). Every Christmas, my mom baked banana bread and put a loaf, wrapped in aluminum foil with a red bow on it, in the mailbox for him.

Our mailman was a friendly man, and he would chat with my mom and her friends on the block, and every once in a while, he would decide that the ladies hadn't visited each other enough lately, so he would intentionally mix up the mail. That way they'd have to take the mail to the other neighbor, who would invite the delivering neighbor in for coffee.

We knew he did it on purpose, partly because he said he did, but also because it was always the same few friends who had their mail mixed up. He never gave us the mail for the family down the street who had the juvenile-delinquent kids. Our mailman knew who the nice people were, and he didn't subject us to the others.

While I doubt today's mix-up was intentional, it gave me a chance to meet another neighbor, and it brought back a happy memory from my childhood. Just that is enough to make this a good day.

1 comment:

Malott said...

When I was little there was no mail delivery in town. Everyone had a Post Office box... Ours was box 246. When I was old enough to walk to town by myself, my parents taught me the combination to the box.

I loved the responsibility of it all.