I have a great job but it requires that I commute to work about 160 miles, Charlotte to Charleston. I have a dozen ways to get to Charleston so you can find me in my Lexus SUV screaming down I-77 and I-26 most days but others I'll take the more enjoyable Highway 601 with different side trips and short cuts.
Mail boxes are everywhere.... big, small, new and beat to hell.... I watch the miles go by and the mail box has become my mile post.... weathered and rusted, their faded red metal flags are bent, broken, and often missing. The doors seem to fall victim as well.... rusting off, or just worn out by too many bills.
I see the kudzu overtake them during the humid summer afternoons and the frost cover them in the early dawn of winter. A new mail box this week will meet a high school prankster next. Beer bottles or baseball bat rural mail boxes live in the danger zone. Logging trucks and drunks in pickup trucks take their toll as well.
Years ago, when I was a young boy, I spent a lot of time at my grandmother's house in the country. There a trip down the gravel drive to the mail box was the high point of everyday. Maybe that's why I don't like Sunday's no mail!
I don't think I sent her many cards or letters. I know she sent 100's to me over the years. I'd usually reply with a phone call or wait just to visit in person. Now many years later she is of course gone, but in her 98 years I have figured she made the trip to the mail box 29 thousand three hundred and fifty five times. Sadly I think she might have found a card or letter from me about 10 maybe 20 but not more than 25 of those 29,000 trips to the mail box.
My parents are on AOL and although they live just a few miles from my home I find it easy just to IM my mom as call. We instant message or email diner plans, trip info and such. But still they send cards, birthday's, Easter, v-day, you name it my mom sends a card. Her sister my Aunt Lois is all about eCards, they are fun but it's not the sameas a real card or letter. My son emails me junk or something on his WANT NOW list. I have not seen a card from him since the 8th grade.
Real letters are a dying art. My bills are mostly ebills. What the letter carrier brings to my rural post box approved by the postmaster general as if he or she personally stopped by to make sure it was up to spec can hardly be considered mail and damn sure is not a letter its junk tons of junk.
Once in a while I might get a letter but most are just notes attached to some item or card the needed to be sent. I have letters that my great grandfather wrote back in the 1930's now those were the days when a letter was something to read, ponder and respond to thoughtfully.
I suspect that letters will go the way of the black and white TV, and the telegraph, western union sent it's last telegraph back in January of this year. I have kept few letters, few from high school girlfriends, those from my grandfather and his father, and many many that my grandmother sent.
I wish that I had sent her more letters for many years later I now understand how much they meant to her. That daily trip to the mail box was her walk of hope and the path to her dreams.
I watch the miles go by the seasons change and I count the mail boxes.