Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Life Lessons From My Mailbox

Take a close look at this picture. What is missing? Besides blue skies, greenery and all other signs of life...

My mailbox.

Sadly my mailbox lost a three year battle with vandals last night. Most would agree that deciding to live in the country basically guarantees that your mailbox will be smashed. I wish you could see how neighbors have fashioned their boxes to withstand or deter blows. It is like a friendly neighborhood competition. One of my favorites has their huge heavy metal box suspended with chains so when hit the box will swing to absorb the impact. Another is surrounded with a complex web of steel fence posts and barbed wire that my kids cleverly nicknamed the skeleton mailbox. Most just have large wooden posts as thick as tree trunks on either side as protection.

I always envisioned mine to be a shiny black box atop a simple wooden post. Knowing I would be fighting an uphill battle to keep this thing in a vertical position, I opted for the cheapest metal box the store sold. From the beginning it was an easy target. I didn't mind. They would knock it off the post and I would pound it back on. After that got old, they would beat it until the parts fell off or failed to do their job. Eventually my mailbox was barely hanging on. Three long nails were functioning as a clamp to hold it onto the splinter that was the top of the post. The flag was completely gone. Mail was constantly wet because the door would no longer shut. Sure it was a sad sight, but every time I got out of the car, walked over to the ditch and dusted the snow off my disfigured box, I would laugh. I kept picturing in my mind these vandals driving by my pitiful mailbox asking themselves when I was going to give up. It became a silent battle of mine and I vowed no matter what not to replace it

Not to give up.

And I'm not. Give me 24 hours and hammer and some nails and you will see this returned to its former glory.

Maybe glory is the wrong word. How about position? Good enough for me.

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