Apr. 21st, 2011

I was out front weeding today just before lunch when my regular letter carrier came by. She didn't say a word to me – just breezed up the front walk, nose in the air, stuck a stack of mail in the mailbox by my front door, and breezed right past me again. She's never been the sociable sort, but the mail comes in and leaves on time, and that's all I've ever asked.

I took a break to get a bite to eat and cool off a bit, but by one o'clock I was back out pulling handfuls of clover from my beds. I had worked up a pretty good sweat when a shadow fell across me. I squinted up to see a man wearing bright blue shorts and a collared shirt, a wide brimmed hat, and a satchel over his shoulder. There was a patch on his shirt that read UNITED STATES POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT. The fellow grinned at me in a disturbingly friendly way and tipped his hat.

"Nice day for gardening," he said.

"If that's how you feel," I said, wiping my brow, "you're more than welcome to lend a hand."

"Oh, I'd love to, believe me," said the fellow, "but I've got to make my deliveries and pickups. You know the creed: 'Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds'."

"Well," I said, gesturing with my hand spade, "good luck with that." I bent to return to my work, but the man thrust a sheaf of something in my face.

"What's this?" I asked.

"It's your mail," said the man, still grinning. "I'm your new letter carrier."

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