Farmer H's last Christmas present arrived today. He knew one would be late. He didn't even ask for anything. But it's not like Mrs. Hillbilly Mom to give the equivalent of a $3 pink change purse for a major holiday gift.
I thought I had been ripped off. I returned from town and pulled the mail from EmBee's gullet. There was a key to the package box! I have been expecting two packages. So I went straight to that metal box, trying all three unkeyed sections, finding, of course, that my key fit the last one. It was a cardboard box, about the size of a square computer monitor, with brown tape flapping off, written on with a Sharpie: Do Not Crush.
When I picked up that box, it almost flew over my head! That's odd. It weighed less than a normal cardboard box by itself. I shook it. Nothing. I was sure I had been ripped off. Somebody had shipped me an empty box! Or somebody had opened that box and taken out the gift! I was incensed! How dare our post office play fast and loose with Farmer H's last gift!
Back at the Mansion, I called The Pony out to carry in my stuff. "I think I got ripped off, Pony. Your dad's gift should weigh more than that."
"Huh. It sounds like there's SOMETHING in it."
"You think? I didn't hear anything. It's probably the empty packaging."
Once inside, I ripped it open. Which was surprisingly hard, what with all that loose brown tape flapping off. But some really sticky clear tape had been put over it.
"Huh. I guess the people who stole the gift out of it taped it back up. I got it off eBay. And the guy had 100% positive ratings. So it must have been the mail people."
Let the record show that I thought this gift was an old butter churn. Farmer H has been wanting one, but they cost too much at the auction. Likewise, they cost too much on eBay. And they might get broken in shipping. Unless somebody shifty at the post office steals them before they get here.
I finally sliced open that package with an orange-handled mini butcher knife, courtesy of Farmer H's factory. Oh. There was something inside. Something wicker. Lightweight.
OH! It was not a butter churn. It was an old fishing creel, an antique, from an estate sale. Easier to ship than a butter churn.
Whew! That was close.
Let the record show that Farmer H likes his late present, and already gave it a place of honor in his Fishing Lair.