Friday, September 18, 2009

Friday's unexpected treasure

This afternoon I went for the first time to the tiny post office in our tiny town. I usually go to the bigger post office in the slightly bigger neighboring town, and combine the trip with other errands.

Today, though, I wanted to try something new.

I thought I knew where it was but couldn't find it, so a quick cell phone call to husband yielded access to the internet and he guided me to the right place.

The moment I saw it, my eyes lit up. It's a tiny brick building that adjoins what looks like an old general store. (apparently, it used to be that, but is now the studio of an artist who makes bird houses!) The gravel parking lot is shaded by huge oak trees. About the time I stepped out of the truck, a friend and neighbor pulled in and we walked in together.

I haven't seen her in several months so we did a quick catching up. She's a writer, editor, master gardener, and teacher, and she was putting up a beautiful hand-made flyer.

I walked on into the post office and was very warmly greeted by the postmaster. A few moments later, my neighbor walked in to introduce me and express her hopes that I will now use the small post office instead of the bigger one in the bigger town. About that time a mother and her daughter, around 8 years old, came in with a slip to pick up a package.

I stepped aside and asked if they wanted to go ahead, as I had a stack of packages to send as well as a question. The girl was so excited she could barely stand still. When I said they could go ahead, she gave me a big hug. "I think my Junie B's are here!" she exclaimed.

The postmaster handed over the big box and the mother said they could open the box up right there. I immediately loved her - knowing how hard it would be to wait if you were 8 and got a package. It was 25 Junie B books and the girl was ecstatic. The rest of us got excited right along with her. I know so well the feeling of getting not just one, but a big stack of new books, and the pure pleasure of knowing all those pages await me.

It was such a wonderful treat to set off on a not-very-excitable errand and discover a treasure, run into a friend, and watch a little girl wrap her arms around a big stack of new books.

According to my friend AND the postmaster, this is just one typical day at the little post office. I suspect I'll be going back.


ponymaid said...

Billie, how I loved this story. It's right out of a "Miss Read" book. The perfect antiquated post office and a small human who loves books. AND large oak trees...I think you might have stepped through a portal into another time.

billie said...

Sheaffer, donkeys would be right at home there. It is so rural and so quiet I could easily imagine Rafer Johnson and Redford hopping out of the back of the truck and marching in with me.

Knowing Redford's love of organization, he would be a shoe-in for putting mail into post office boxes.

the7msn said...

What a beautiful story! And now I'm imagining Redford sorting mail. I wonder if any rural mail carriers use donkeys to carry their mail sacks?

Grey Horse Matters said...

What a wonderful story. How nice is it to start off not particularly enthused and wind up delighted with the day. I think the only thing missing was a couple of old fellas sitting on the porch having a game of checkers.

billie said...

Thanks, Linda. I too can't quite get Redford in a postal cap with letters in his teeth out of my head.

billie said...

Arlene, as I was leaving an older guy came up but he had a big crate filled with some kind of art figures. Our little town's moniker is "A community of artists" so I should have known the P.O. would be hopping with cool people.

Michelle said...

Great story! That was one of my favorite things about the small rural town I used to live in. They had this tiny little post office and there were always unique experiences to be had there. Sounds like a great time.

billie said...

Michelle, there are many charming qualities about small towns. I said to the postmaster that having grown up in a small town, I couldn't wait to get the heck out, but now, as I get older, I am beginning to appreciate the small-town life.

Michelle said...

That's so true, Billie! It's so weird, it's like the post office experience epitomizes the character of a small town....nowhere else are the differences between rural and urban life as apparent.

billie said...

Sometime I will have to write about my post office experience when I lived briefly in Paris.

My mailing address was the main Paris post office, with the phrase "poste restant" - which alerted them to hold the mail for me to pick up. I had quite a bit of correspondence and packages sent to me so one of my regular errands was stopping by to get my mail. It was a very frenetic atmosphere, and all in French. :)

Once in the main post office in Beverly Hills, CA, I was mistaken for Annette Bening.

Funny - I have had interesting experiences in post offices big and small, but for some reason the tiny ones are priceless.