Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas Means Mail Magic

By Mel Carriere

I shouldn't be blogging on Christmas for goodness sake but I am sitting here with nothing to do on a Christmas afternoon as I anxiously await the inevitable lump of coal in my stocking.  My oldest son had to go to work and doesn't get off until later this afternoon, and because my darling wife was up until 5 AM watching movies she is still asleep, dreaming the visions of sugarplums that she will find in her own stocking...whatever a sugarplum is.  A sugarplum sounds like it could lead to some serious continence issues for us 50 and older types.

I was going to write this post earlier in the week but I got overwhelmed by a rush of last minute Christmas preparations.  Part of this included standing in line at the local post office along with everyone else.  The postal facility where I work is only a carrier annex, not a retail facility, so there is no mailing of packages there and no special head of the line postman perks for me.

As I was standing in line at my local PO I was having my own magical sugarplum visions without any sort of chemically induced help, if that is what your naughty not nice mind is thinking.  These led me to a sort of pleasant, peaceful Christmas epiphany.  I started off my wait time in line with the Rudolf the Red-nosed Reindeer tune buzzing through my head, since I had just seen the CBS commercial announcing that Rudolf is now 50 years old, at least in his television animated cartoon form. I couldn't help but think that Rudolf is now so old I he won't be joining in any reindeer games anymore, even if the other reindeer let him and he really felt like dragging his arthritic reindeer bones out of bed to do it.

These were very cynical ideas to be having around Christmastime, but luckily this rather sinister line of philosophical speculation was saved by the appearance of two children who had been dispatched by Mom to drop off a handful of Christmas cards in the outgoing letter slot.  The oldest child was a boy, and he was patiently monitoring the mail handling activities of his little sis to make sure that she did it properly.

The poor little girl could not quite reach the letter slot, but she was determined to try.  "Here, let me help you," her brother said patiently, but she would have nothing to do with his interference.

"I want to do it!" she protested.  She was determined to get those cards through that tiny aperture one way or the other.

The little girl struggled, strained, and stretched.  I don't know how she did it, but there was some kind of Christmas magic brewing in the post office that levitated her just enough so that her tiny fingers could get those Christmas cards just through the mail slot, where they dropped down with a satisfying plunk.

This was truly a miracle as far as I was concerned, but full-blown postal miracles are normal this time of year.

The little girl backed away from the mail slot and looked upon it in complete awe, not exactly certain what she had just participated in.  She wasn't quite sure how those Christmas cards were going to get to their destinations on time but she knew, as even we jaded, cynical adults still realize, that there was going to be some heavy duty Christmas magic involved.

Yesterday I was listening to the radio on my way to work, where they were reporting on the movements of Santa Claus as he was being tracked by NORAD on radar.  This report made me think that the Santa Claus theory of package delivery is probably a more plausible explanation than the postal hypothesis.  It is practically unbelievable how we, the men and women of the United States Postal Service, manage to move 4 billion parcels annually and get them there on time.  It requires nothing short of a miracle on every level to receive, sort, distribute and deliver these packages on time, frequently ahead of time.

The package I mailed that Friday was delivered to my Father in Arizona on Sunday.  Like that little girl, I was absolutely amazed.  I didn't even send it Priority Mail, because I am cheap.  I sent it First Class and it still made it with plenty of time to spare.  

Eat your heart out, Santa Claus.  Christmas means mail magic, pure and simple.  Any innocent child dropping cards in a postal collection box knows this.

Thank you, unknown little girl in the post office, for renewing my faith in the organization I work for.  You showed me that you believe in Christmas mail magic, and now I realize that I still do too.

I wish you all a wonderful Christmas, what's left of it, and a Happy New Year.  Thanks for support throughout the year, and I look forward to sharing my thoughts with you in 2015.

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  1. Mel, very sweet piece. I am continually amazed at how mail arrives so faithfully from USPS. It truly does seem like a miracle to me. (By the way, you might like an essay I wrote that was inspired by standing in line at the Pittsburgh Post office a few years back. It's published in a free Android app in the google play store called, "Live from Milwaukee" and the audio essay that mentions the post office is called "The Power of the Button." It's a free download at (again, for Android only at the moment). Cheers!

  2. Thank you Billie Kelpin I will have to take a look at that. Thanks for commenting.