Well I guess it’s finally come to the point where I have to do something. For years now the kids and Mel both have been complaining about it but I just let it go in one ear and out the other. It’s been a part of our family since even before me and Mel got married, how do you get rid of something like that? Don’t get me wrong, I know it looks a little rough, but now KT says she doesn’t even want to touch it; she’s afraid she might catch tetanus or something. One of our neighbor’s daughters even told one of mine that she felt sorry for it, it looks so helpless. Now finally Momma Doris has gotten into the act, and bought me a new one, and I still haven’t gotten round to doing anything about it. But I was given an ultimatum this weekend, put up the new mailbox, so I guess I’ve finally run out of excuses.
Now don’t get me wrong, I know it’s looking a little on the tired side, but if you had been sitting out there side the road for over thirty years, you would be looking a little ragged yourself.
But I just hate to take it down; it’s hard to believe that a small metal box would have so many memories. That’s like when I put it up. It was a couple months before we even got married, I had just put our first trailer on the hill, and since it was going to be our home, we needed a mailbox. So in the dark, we didn’t even have power yet, me and a buddy of mine named Joey, we were out there putting it together, and digging the hole, holding a flashlight. Never did get any mail till I hooked lights up though, but that didn’t stop me from checking it out every day, as I left work headed back over to my folk’s house.
And like most of us, it became just the thing we would walk out to every day, some days with dread, others with anticipation. We all hate getting bills, but back then income tax checks came in the mail too. How many of us use to get excited about that, especially when you were first married, it was like winning the lottery when you opened that box and saw the check in there.
Nothing much happens with a mailbox, usually you don’t even think about it but once a day. That is till one night in particular, I had been up since about three that morning at the hospital, which was the day that my oldest was born, when I heard three or four loud bangs. When I opened the front door, a car was speeding off from the mailboxes, as I walked out there, I saw where somebody had taken I guess a baseball bat to them. Well, I said to myself, I’ll fix it in the morning, but not fifteen minutes after I got back in the house, there was that banging again. These guys have to be stupid. So I ran out the door hollering, but it turned out it was the neighbor’s kid, and he was trying to bang them back together, I don’t even know who scared the other one worse, me or him.
Then a few years later a lady lost control of her car and ran a couple of them over. Well, about that time a cop rolled by, and after seeing the damage he was going to have to write her a ticket, me, I was just worried about her and her kids. She was crying, her kids were crying, and the cop looked at me and said if she agreed to fix my mailbox he wouldn’t write her a ticket. All I could do was laugh, I told him she didn’t have to do that, it looked that way before she hit it. You should have seen what Hugo did to it. So I beat it back together and stuck it back in the ground, and it’s still getting the mail.
But I guess it’s time to retire it, besides I have that new one staring at me every day. But as my girls were putting it together, it reminded me of something. My hero Lewis Grizzard once wrote a column about a mud hole, and I wondered if I could write one about a mailbox.
Lewis, if you were still with us, I hope you would have liked the way I accepted your challenge.
You can reach Robbin Bruce by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Opinions that appear on this page in Letters to the Editor or in columns do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.
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