There was a time when we first moved here to Charlie Brown Road that we never knew whose mail we were apt to find in our mailbox, nor did we have any idea what happened to the birthday or Christmas cards our relatives swore they’d sent to one of us. Oftentimes we’d get them a week or so later with a handwritten note on the envelope saying “not for box xox.”
We found ourselves writing the same note at least once a month, putting it back in our mailbox, raising the flag, and hoping the mail would eventually get to its intended recipient. The problem ceased when that mailman retired, but every once in a while we still find a piece of mail in our box that belongs to a very close neighbor, and the neighbors occasionally get something of ours. It happens so infrequently that I’ve never even considered complaining. And besides that we really like the mailman we’ve had for the last few years, because he frequently goes out of his way to make sure that packages, too large for the box, are personally delivered or left on the front porch. He even puts a note in the mailbox to tell us where he placed it. It’s called service above and beyond the call of duty.
In other words, before I get into the rest of this column, it’s important to me that the reading public and my mailman know that I wouldn’t trade him for a horse and a hundred dollars and that he had absolutely nothing to do with postal error I’m about to describe.
One of the things in life that I can count on is the fact that, without fail, Patti Cox, business manager at The Garrard Central Record, will make sure that I have my paycheck on either the last Friday or Saturday of every month.
On March 2, when I realized it had not come in the mail the week before, I e-mailed Patti who assured me she had mailed it on February 24. I checked with my neighbors to see if it had wound up in their mailboxes but nobody had seen it. Patti informed me that it would cost almost as much as the amount of the check to stop payment, so we decided to wait until March 10 to see if it turned up.
When it still had not shown up
by the following Tuesday, I figured I would stop by the newspaper office on Friday while I was in town on other business. Then on Wednesday, March 8, as I was sorting through that day’s mail, there among the offers for cheap life insurance and zero-interest credit card “deals” was an envelope from The Central Record, received 12 days after it had been mailed in Lancaster, which is less than 10 miles from my front porch.
Sure enough, it was postmarked in Lexington on February 24 and in Louisville on February 25. I understand the manpower efficiencies that necessitate local mail having to go to Lexington and back before we get it, but The Good Lord only knows how and why my paycheck wound up in Louisville.
The more perplexing question, however, is why did it take well over a week to find its way back to Paint Lick. Mail usually gets delivered from both Lexington and Louisville to Charlie Brown Road in less than 24 hours unless a holiday or Sunday holds it up.
In the meantime, I’m sitting here wondering where my check has been and what sorts of tales it could tell about its trip. And for some strange reason, these words Dr. Seuss wrote in Oh, The Places You’ll Go! keep running through my mind: “You’ll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. You’ll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go. …”