Son-And-Heir loves to tell people “Dad’s just getting his exercise.”
Thing is, it was my second trip of the day.
The first trip was to get the morning paper, all of which translates into 58 steps each way. Call it exercise or whatever, but multiply that by four (232 steps) and it’s an arduous effort, especially for one who has reached his lifetime dream of being (as they say out on the rural route) “a piece of sorry white trash.”
Thing is, if you start from my recliner in the den, it’s 69 steps. From the recliner in my “barn,” it’s 104 steps. That’s a shade over one football field on just a single one-way trip. From my point of view, it is not all that far-fetched to qualify as “exercise.”
But in the interest of full disclosure, I need to say I really enjoy going to the mailbox . . . always have, always will.
Thing is, I hadn’t given it much thought until recently. On one trip for the morning paper, two people waved at me from passing cars and a third braked long enough to say hello and “How you doing?”
In some way, if you’ll think about it, walking to the mailbox (in addition to being good for your heart rate) has sort of replaced the days when people sat on their front porch in rocking chairs and actually knew the people next door. They even talked to each other.
Of course, that was before air conditioning drove us all inside and houses came with “entrances” instead of front porches.
Another reason I go for the mail is that on occasion I get to the mailbox at the same time as the postman (OK, postperson) does. He puts his truck in neutral and we talk awhile . . . about all sorts of things.
His name is Randall Wilkinson and he’s been “my postman” a very long time. You can just about set your clock by the appearance of his blocky little white truck on our street.
Another reason I like going to the mailbox is I’m doing my part to sustain home delivery to the Great American People.
In case you haven’t been reading your morning paper of late, the United States Postal Service is in a heap of trouble, something like 2.7 billion dollars of red as of Dec. 4. That was the word from the postmaster general on that date. And that was after borrowing 3 billion from the treasury.
Don’t get me wrong here.
Like most normal people, I rely heavily on the Internet and e-mail for my incoming and out-going. But I also take a bit of patriotic pride in the old-fashioned way every now and then.
I do not pay my bills by phone or by computer. I get the bill, sit down, write a check, head for the mailbox.
Why, just Thursday morning I walked out to the mailbox and mailed a letter to a friend in Birmingham. And I used real stamps I’d bought at the Blue Mountain post office. Fact is, by including some information I’d found on the Internet, the mailing required not one, but two stamps.
Hey, I know 88 cents (44 cents per stamp) isn’t going to make a very big dent in an $8 billion deficit (last fiscal year), but big oaks do grow from small acorns (did I really say that?).
In the above, I found a memory, one going back to boyhood when the Ohatchee postmaster, John Ellis, would meet the mail train on Sunday morning, walk to the post office, sort the mail, and pass out to those waiting.
Then we’d all go to church … which is what I’m about to do and try to explain to the preacher that I really am normal and you can’t judge “this book by this morning’s cover.”
And a Good Day to Ye . . .
George Smith can be reached at 256-235-5286 or e-mail: email@example.com