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More About Mail Boxes
I now have, at some expense, a mailbox which is above reproach. It is also, I’m afraid, rather drab in comparison to a large number of mailboxes around here. I’ve been looking at mail boxes lately and I want to share some of them with you.
Maybe you’ve seen the one made out of an old milk can. There’s one over in Peaceful Valley up on a 20 foot pole. It says “Air Mail” on it in big letters.
Sometimes people write things on their boxes, like “Love and Peace.” Near my house there’s one that says “Lord’s Blessing.” Mostly, though, people don’t pay much attention to their mailbox. They make sure they go to the hairdresser, and press their pants, and they even wash the family car now and then. But the mailbox doesn’t get much attention once it’s put up. In fact, you can pretty much tell how long somebody’s been around by the condition of the mailbox.
Years ago on our rural route the summer residents didn’t have mailboxes at all. We all had a big canvas mail bag, with the name written on it more or less fancily, and we hung it on a peg so the mailman could pick it up and drop off our other one. If we forgot to leave the empty one, it meant a long trip to the post office to give the postmaster our bag.
There are a few places that get a lot of mail in the summer, like Camp St. Malo, that still use bags, but for the most part they’re a thing of the past, like the homemade mail boxes that sprang up after we were told we had to have a mailbox.
Most people built little replicas of log cabins, but the doors fell off and the rain got in. So most of those are gone now, too. You can still find them, but they have a regulation rural mailbox stuffed inside.
If you live off by yourself, you can be pretty creative with your mailbox. Most of us, though, have our box in a group, and conformity is more or less the rule. It’s hard to enjoy a box covered with flowers when it’s surrounded by 30 plain, gray boxes. Maybe if one person decorated his box, everyone else would, too. No, I don’t think so, either.
Most of us probably tend to think of our mail box as a utilitarian device and don’t give it a whole lot of thought until it lets our mail get wet or falls over. Maybe that’s why most mail boxes look as though they could stand a little love.
On the other hand, don’t you wonder, when you see somebody’s name on a battered and askew mailbox, what their house looks like?
I could get a post office box, 1 suppose, but I’ve developed a commitment to my mail box. I figure if I keep it looking new people will think I’m a well organized and nice person. This proves you can’t tell much about a person from his mailbox,
© 1985 – 2003, David E. Steiner
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