Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Life in a small town, holiday post office edition

Our post office is only open Monday through Friday, although between ten and noon on Saturday morning you can knock on a certain Dutch door if you've got a yellow slip in your box announcing that you have a package to pick up, and they'll go find the package for you. (These yellow slips, I might add, never get filled in like at some post offices. Probably the postal worker knows which box is yours anyway, and if he or she doesn't, you just tell them. No sense wasting forms when you can reuse them for the price of a little human to human communication.)

So, when I walked into the post office Sunday morning early to check our P.O. box, I was startled - and a bit concerned - when I saw that the top of the Dutch door was wide open. It's not even wide open on Saturdays, thanks. And this Sunday was Christmas Eve, a holiday, a day you might expect the post office to be full of echoes instead of workers.

I was relieved when the movement I saw in the back room, through the Dutch door, turned out to be the acting postmaster. I wished him a Merry Christmas and he wished me a Merry Christmas right back and we went on about our separate business.

When I got home, the mystery was explained. Several times over, the DJ on our local radio station announced that Chuck down at the post office still had a mountain of Christmas packages, and he'd be there until noon for anyone who wanted to come in to pick theirs up. If you didn't know if you had a package, you were urged to call Chuck.

Since I live quite close I sauntered back minutes before noon to check my box again, just in case something Christmas-y had slipped in at the last moment. There wasn't a yellow slip in it, but there were three pieces of mail that hadn't been there earlier in the day. Behind me, hidden behind the wall of boxes across the room, I could hear Chuck diligently sorting mail into boxes, making good use of his time waiting for latecomers.

No comments: