Saturday, February 12, 2005

Random Thoughts

I am a lot like my father. My dad had surgery to remove a cancerous tumor on February 1st. Today is the 12th and it is the first day that I have been well enough to see him. So happens that he asked me to take him to a town council committee meeting, where it turns out I had been invited (if I had known this in advance, I had certainly forgotten during my illness) in order to help the Veteran’s Memorial Committee incorporate as a non-profit organization. Well, that business didn’t take too long, and my dad starts talking about the problems he’s having getting mail! The local post office has a very interesting system for not delivering your mail. For a little background, please note that five generations of my family have lived in the house I live in. In fact, in the late 1830’s my house served as the local post office. When I moved into the house, not only were there no street numbers, but there had never been a mail box at my driveway, so I asked the then Post Master what to do. He said, “Get a P.O. Box at the post office. I did. I always told people “just address it to Me, Mytown, NC,” I’ll get it! And I did. After twenty years though, we got street numbers, AND new people at the post office. Now, I still knew a number of the employees at the post office (our town has less than 5,000 people), but now, unless my box number is in the address it is marked “NMR” and returned. I learned this the hard way, when I received a call from my mortgage company wondering why their monthly statements were being returned. Well, now my dad is having the same problem with his mail. To hear him, makes me think I’m seeing myself in thirty years! He’s saying the same thing I said some years ago: “These people know me! They know my address! They know my PO box! What’s the problem!?!? And what does 'NMR' mean?!?!"

While all of this was going on, I was thinking about yesterday. I worked only part of the day (trying to regain my strength), and met my wife at a post office in the nearby larger city (pop. approx 300,000), where they issue passports. Two of our children are going out of the country later this year. One on a missions trip and the other on a singing tour. We got to the post office at approx. 4:00 pm. There was a short line for passports and we already had the paperwork completed. Well, it was 6:30 pm before we left! There was only one clerk (a very nice, thoughtful woman) and she had to sell stamps, get packages and do telephone duty all while doing the passport work!!! Reminded me of the county courthouse. I’ll be in the middle of filing papers when the clerk helping me all of a sudden will say, “well, its time for my break!” The person relieving her will then have to start over…to make sure everything is in order!

The other post office story I thought of this morning while with my dad, had to do with a dear friend of mine. He was up for promotion to Lt. Col. in the army and had to get some paperwork to an army base in another state. For cost reasons, he sent it US Mail, Next Day Delivery. Well, he missed his promotion…the envelope wasn’t delivered for three weeks!

Anyway, I had fun with my dad. It’s funny now that I’m 50 that he reminds me so much of my grandfather! My grandfather, too, was a great man. During my hardest growing up years, he was my friend. Now that my children are grown (some of them anyway), my dad and I are at point in our lives where we too can be friends. It’s not that we don’t still have a father/son relationship, we do, and a good one. It’s just that I’m now seeing him differently.

I had a good day!