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Mailboxes and pink snow

Food for Thought

You know how things seem to come in threes? Things like good luck, minor catastrophes, disappointments, and unexpected visitors? Well, I am presently waiting for the third thing to happen regarding mailboxes. I’m hoping this isn’t a three-part run of bad luck involving mailboxes– just something to do with mailboxes in general.
For starters, you should know that I’ve been delivering my columns to the paper office on a monthly basis for quite a while, first on a floppy disk, and more recently on a flash drive. Because my computer is not online, I can’t simply email it in, and during this most recent miserable winter, I’ve really appreciated the fact that I don’t have to dig my way through the drifts to deliver the column on a weekly basis. As I am rapidly approaching my 80th birthday, my over-protective sons think I shouldn’t be out on the road at all during winter driving conditions, even though one of them, not too long ago, told me that I was one of the two most careful drivers he knows (the other one was himself).
Since Doug needs the copy the week before it is to be published, I’ve gotten into the habit of dropping off the flash drive at roughly the same time each month so that he knows when to expect it. Even the most routine habits sometimes get disrupted, and on the day that I delivered the columns for February, there was nobody in the paper office and the door was locked. So I left the flash drive in the mailbox, as I’ve done before, thinking someone would pick it up later in the day. It never occurred to me that anyone would look in the mailbox unless they had a legitimate reason to; Doug assumed I’d had a good reason for not leaving it at the usual time; so I didn’t know– until too late– that, sometime after I’d left it there, the flash drive had disappeared. I can only assume that someone, curious or larcenous, looked into the mailbox, saw a nice little, free flash drive, and helped him or herself. And that explains why this column was missing from this paper the first week in February– for the first time since I started writing it during the 1970s. It’s not the value of the flash drive that upsets me, but the fact that my record of continuous columns was broken by someone else’s avarice. And, I’m sorry to have disappointed some very loyal readers who have already voiced their disappointment and who wondered if I had quit writing the column. No way– not until I’m senile, dead or fired, at any rate.
On the heels of the missing flash drive, another mailbox catastrophe happened to my own rural mailbox. There are five or six mailboxes in a row at the corner where our dead end road turns off the main blacktop. It was not the first time that the snowplow has inched over just a little too far and taken out the whole row. This only happens (naturally) after a snowstorm and the boxes and any mail they might contain end up scattered in a fairly deep ditch with, often, considerable snow tossed on top of them. There’s no way I could possibly clamber down into that ditch to retrieve my mail or even to check to see if the boxes contained mail at the time they went flying. Unreceived mail doesn’t usually result in life-threatening problems, but a few bills that don’t get paid on time, letters from friends and relatives I like to keep in contact with, some important business correspondence, all result in annoyance, inconvenience and the feeling that it’s unwise to trust anything important to the U.S. Mail, even though it was in no way the fault of the postal service.
I presently find myself waiting for the third mailbox thing to happen. It need not be a bad thing, I’d credit even a good mailbox event just to finish out the set of three, so I could quit worrying about it. One thing for sure; it won’t involve another missing flash drive– I’m never leaving anything in that mail box again, so whoever has my nice little rainbow-striped flash drive needn’t bother to hope for another free one.
Oh, yes, I promised you pink snow, didn’t I? After reliving Dr. Seuss’s “Cat In The Hat” through four children, I’m still aware of Thing One and Thing Two trying to clean up the mess left by the pink bathtub ring. Years later, our dogs dragged, from somewhere, a hunk of what must have been red Jell-O and it lay in the snow by our back steps, a patch of red that seemed to grow mysteriously larger and paler as days went by. I began to wonder if the whole landscape would eventually become pink. Much more recently, I looked toward a blood-red sunrise one morning and saw all the snow-covered fields tinted a lovely rose-pink, and I wondered if Dr. Seuss had been inspired by a rosy winter sunrise when he wrote that story.