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Monday, July 30, 2012

Magic Mailbox

I really wanted to write last night, but it just wasn't happening. I'd write something, hate it, and erase it. Then I would start again, hate it again, erase it again. Luckily, when you are a blogger there are no rules that state you must write on specific days or you will get fired. When I was trying hard not to get out of bed this morning, it came to me in a flash. I knew what I wanted to write about. That's how it should be.

At one time, one of the grocery/small store shopping areas near where Gram and I lived had a US Postal station. It was an unmanned station where you could mail letters and packages, and do things like weigh boxes so you knew how much postage you would need. There were probably stamp machines as well, I don't remember that part too clearly. When Gram would receive her pension check, we would jump in the car (okay, we didn't exactly jump, that wouldn't be too wise for an older lady to do) and go to the grocery or mail out her payments for her bills.

Something that was both cool and convenient about the postal station was that you could actually drive up to the mailbox on either the driver's or passenger's side and drop the mail in a slot if you didn't want to get out of your car. Since Gram wasn't as easily able to get around as she used to be, this option really appealed to her. She could put the mail in the slot herself and know for a certainty that it had been mailed, and not have to get out of the car and do any walking or standing in line.

We pulled up and Gram double-checked all of her letters. She made sure they were all there, and that they all had return addresses and the stamps and sealing flaps were firmly attached. Then she threw them down the chute into the belly of the mail-beast. On one such occasion, right after she dropped the mail in the box, a voice asked us, "Will that be all for you?" We looked at each other, eyes wide, and mouths open in surprise. "What?" we said. "Will there be anything else for you today?" "No," we answered shakily, "that's all." "Okay, thank you!"

We were kind of freaking out. Who ever heard of a talking mailbox? Especially one that asks if you need anything else? We started looking around for the host and camera crew of one of those hidden-camera television shows, but nobody showed up. And then we heard the voice again. "Welcome to ------ Restaurant, what can we get for you today?" Yes, we were hearing the drive-through speaker from the fast-food restaurant across the parking lot! We got completely hysterical, laughing at ourselves. Here we had been thinking that we either had a magical mailbox or were the victims of an elaborate hoax. And all along, it was just someone on a really loud speaker wanting to know if we wanted any fries or drinks with our burgers, which we hadn't ordered from across the parking lot. After that, every trip to that postal station was good for a laugh, even if we didn't get asked if there was anything else we wanted. Because we already knew it was a Magic Mailbox.