Monday, December 14, 2009

It Takes So Little...

Our house on the lake doesn't have a mailbox, so we've purchased a post office box in the village. I originally thought this would be a teensy pain in the butt, because on Cedar Creek we loved running out to the mailbox together to discover the treasures inside. Sometimes, when it was especially cold or snowy, that trip to the end of the driveway was the extent of our outdoor excursions for the day.

I have absolutely fallen in love with the post office box. The post office itself is a small room, really, that is largely unstaffed but is surrounded by P.O. boxes. My secret dream job is to be a mail carrier, walking to each unique house and meticulously emptying my bag as I chat with neighbors and enjoy the outdoors. I would now settle for a small-town mail clerk, I believe, with the room full of different-sized doors and a satisfying angle of letters in each one.

The most exciting part of having a P.O. box in Walloon Lake is that sometimes, after turning the key to your own special room of mail, you might discover another key is waiting for you. This new key has a number on it, and you get to search the room for a bigger P.O. box with the same number and open that, which will have a package in it for you. A package! Behind a locked door! For which you have the key! Which you found in your own little locked box!

Each time this happens to me, I think about the ridiculous amount of joy I feel and wonder how incredibly happy I could make the world if I were able to bottle that excited energy I have while I'm racing around, looking for my treasure chest.

Once, I happened to run in while the post master was working. I had a little card in my box that told me I needed to sign for a piece of mail, so I ran up to the desk and rang the bell. I heard her in the back working on something and so, after waiting three whole seconds, I rang it again. She came out and I'm not kidding, I nearly jumped over the desk and hugged her.

"HI, I'm Lisa Doublestein and I have a P.O. Box rightoverthere and I found this yellow card in it and -"

"Oh yes, box 618?"

"YES, GOOD JOB! That's me! Well, that's me and my husband, Trevor, we just moved here, just for the winter, really, though we're not new in town - well, we're new in the village here but we lived in Petoskey, well my husband actually summered here in the village most of his life - that little pink cottage? On West? I think it's West. You know, that little pink one? Anyway, he also builds on the lake so he's out here all the time, so it's not like we're exactly new. We're staying in a house he built, actually, out on North Shore."

"Hi. My name is Terri, and I'm the post master here."

"Oh GOSH, so good to MEET you Terri. I'm sure we'll be seeing lots and LOTS of each other."

"Mm-hm. I see you with your little ones every now and then."

"YES, we see you, too! That's why I wanted to introduce myself. They're Berit and Marta and sometimes we even see you walking back from lunch, you must love being able to walk home for lunch, we always wave but you didn't know us so I wanted to introduce myself." (Realizing what a complete fool I'm being...) "Um, bye. See you next time."

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