As soon I started writing, the mailbox became a focus of breathless attention. Would it bring acceptance of a work? Or yet another rejection? Or a rejection with an encouraging letter saying keep at it? Or an in between that might become acceptance if I made the suggested changes? Would there be, wonder of wonders, an actual check enclosed? Even though email has diminished much of its function, the mailbox still holds the possibility of magic every day.
My country mailbox suffers much for me. Its mortal enemy is the county snowplow which roars past in blizzards, throwing up a huge wing of snow, generally missing the mailbox by a few inches.
Next are the folks who can’t keep control of their cars on the gentle corner. With acres of open land available, they manage to hit my oak tree, knock over my skinny little pine, smash in all the culvert ends, whack the flagpole, take out the fence anchor posts and, yes, send my mailbox spinning across the road.
After them come whipping winds, relentless rain, rust-inducing road salt spray, and rough yanks by the paper delivery folks pulling the door off its hinge.
I’ve seen birds trying to move in at nesting time and long grass attempting to swallow the mailbox in summer. The long-suffering receptacle depends on regular first aid from me and outright rescue when it is, once again, knocked from its perch. The post, with a joint in the middle designed to turn when struck, never seems to do its job. It’s up to me to keep the mailbox standing upright. Which I certainly will. For a writer, the mail will never lose its suspense – or its thrill.