The Killing of a Mailbox

We moved into our house 5.5 years ago, and love it in our new community.  Nice green surroundings (or white during the winter) and a nice village.  There are plenty of amenities and even more activities for kids.

During the 5.5 years, we have had to invest in now six mailboxes, which is rather frustrating and baffles me why people can have so much against a bloody mailbox.

It just stands there.  It does not insult or call people names.  It has no political affiliation and generally fairly impartial.  Why this hatred toward a mailbox?

Perhaps our mailboxes are the reincarnation of the same mailbox, similar to the cute dog movie where the puppy comes back to serve its real purpose to the right person.  Or, is it more like the strange movie with Tom Cruise where he comes back to the same battle every time he dies.

Please note, destroying a mailbox by accident is not a federal offense.  Intentionally vandalizing or causing damage to a USPS mailbox is a federal offense and can lead to financial penalties, jail time and hours of community service.

Nevertheless, our mailbox is the victim and tries hard to please its surroundings.  All our mailboxes have served us well, some with more strength and composure than others.

The life of a mailbox in a rural area in NY state

  • The first mailbox was killed by tons of snow during our first winter at the house, by eager snowplow dudes.  It was replaced by the snow-clearing crew after we chased them to compensate us for the damages.
  • The second mailbox was annihilated by a DUI, and didn’t stand a chance – pieces scattered all over the side of the road.  The driver’s dad replaced it within 24 hours, as he was embarrassed by his son’s actions.
  • The third mailbox fell victim to teenage pranks, knocked down with a baseball bat.  They had taken out several mailboxes on the road.  Not attempt to apologize or replace the damaged mailbox.
  • The fourth suffered the same faith as the first.  It met its match with an avalanche of slushy snow being hurled at it with 50mph. Again, the snow-clearing guys replaced it after we called them to remind them to replace it.
  • The fifth simply vanished without a trace – perhaps area 51 testing or the sudden appearance of the Bermuda triangle … literally not a single piece of evidence that we ever had a mailbox!
  • The sixth mailbox was killed recently, and this time evidence was clearly visible.  A mangled up mailbox was stuck in the ditch, trying to look alive and ready for business.  It died a brave battle.

Now, the sixth mailbox is a much more heartfelt story and deserves praise.

You might wonder how the killing of an innocent mailbox can be justified.  Well, let me tell you.

While at work, I suddenly received a text message from a guy who had done some work at the house, claiming that the state troopers were at my house, peering through the windows.

Confused and frazzled, I headed home fearing the worst.  Did some idiot attempt to break into our house or had something more sinister happened?

I called my teenage daughter as I knew she was about to be home, to let her know not to worry, and to call me if she spoke to the trooper.

As soon as she arrived home she called me and informed me that our beloved mailbox had been savagely dismembered.  The post was shattered across the driveway, leaving little to the imagination, and the mailbox itself mangled up in the ditch.

When I arrived home there was a note from the state troopers, informing me that an elderly driver had hit our mailbox.

Ok, I guess I have to visit my friends at Home Depot to get a new one, as without a mailbox we will not receive mail or deliveries.

Mid-afternoon, there was a faint knocking on the front door.  Outside stood an elderly man, who looked rather embarrassed and apologetic.  He confessed to his sins and begged for forgiveness.

He explained that he was coming down the road, and this dumb deer was in the middle of the road, refusing to move.  He swerved to avoid it and killed my mailbox in the process.

If a person could be more apologetic and sincere, then he won the prize.  He was genuinely sorry and what amazed me, even more, was that he stopped by in person to offer his apologies and also offered to pay for the new mailbox.

We chatted a little and he shared that he was a vet who served in Vietnam.  He is now retired and living just up the road from us.

I told him not to pay for the mailbox.  I valued his honesty, his service, and his desires to pay. I refused as I’m sure he could use the money for something more important and that he might not be getting much in pension anyway.

It was my little token to him, thanking him for his service.

He was blown away by my response and he was sincerely happy.  He wanted to pay something, so I told him to get me a bottle of wine.

He delivered two bottles today!  I told him to stop by during the summer to share some beers on the deck.  He smiled and said he would.

At the end of the day, it is just a mailbox.  No one was injured and it displayed the honesty of the older generation, something we might not see so often anymore.

We need to focus on bigger things and appreciate our neighbors more.  If we always focus on the negative or seek our conflict, then we live in a stressful environment and that will eventually catch up with you.

When you build up anger and thrive on the negativity that will impact your wellbeing.  You have more importnat things to focus on, such as kindess and wellness … and world peace!

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