You know that you have been incarcerated to long when one of the highlights of the day is going to the mailbox to see what treasures the postman might have brought. Whether rain or snow or dead of night, the intrepid mail box opener comes out of his cave and trudges and I do mean trudges to the mail box with the key extended.

The mailbox beckons and the allure is almost overwhelming. There is an excitement about finding out what has been sent to you via the postal service. I open the mailbox door and cannot quite see in to the back. The greatest event is when there are keys to the large package door in the mailbox. This portends great huzzahing when a package is removed. It could be a get well present or something that I bought on ebaythat does not fit into the mailbox.

More normally, I reach as far back as I can and scoop up whatever papers are glued to my hand. I occasionally drop a card of an advertisement on the ground. By picking up the paper or letter, I count this activity as exercise, and it is in my debilitated state.

I clutch the mail to my chest and saunter ( as much as my legs will allow) to my front door, take off my coat and deposit my finds on the kitchen counter. I am sometimes impressed by the array of ads spread out in front of me- Chico’s, Lands End, the Clipper magazine ( coupons for the worst restaurants in town and pool builders), Oriental, the local Guide, Everything Jewish, Newsweek, magazines that Carol has purchased from our grandson’s school, and copious items relating to health and good eating.

I scan through his items and look for anything of substance. I come across a bill from Verizon that seems abominably too high, a bill from the electric company, the gas company and assorted other liabilities. Once in a great while there are checks made out to us- some from our work and other’s from the federal government to do with Social Security and those from our clients.

There is always some closed envelope that defies definition. It is a mystery because it usually has either no address or one with no name attached. It is sometimes labeled important or time sensitive. Although I know that it is trash, I still hope that I have won something that I will not have to give back.

There are also get well cards from friends and relatives. Those are always interesting to see what was picked out.There are these new talking cards with high squeaky Alvin voices imploring you to get well soon. There are the maudlin cards feeling sorry for your condition and hoping against hope that you will do better. There are the Shoebox cards with usually feature old pictures of old people in mild forms of activity. They are always wearing that era’s version of polyester.

Then there are the funny cards and I mean the real funny cards that you cannot purchase at your local pharmacy or super market. So many of them are quite clever and kind of take my mind off my physical condition

As I approach the trash can with so much of the mail, I thank my lucky stars that there is, at least one time of the day, that my mind wanders off into the ionosphere. Mail brings with it promises of new clothes, new cars, new foods, the money to pay for them and the bills that they represent. All hail to my bearded and bedraggled postman who has no idea what he has done for his customers.


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