Apparently, the problem we've been having here in Hillmomba with both *outgoing and incoming mail is not limited to Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's family.
Saturday, I was halfway down the gravel road, just past the spot where the traveling meth lab seizure had backed up traffic several years ago, when a lady on a 4-wheeler wearing cowboy boots and Daisy Dukes (the lady, not the 4-wheeler) flagged me down coming the other way.
"Are you going to your mailbox?"
"I was headed to town. I usually stop on the way back. But I'm sure it's here by now."
"Uh huh. I was expecting a package. My husband is at work, and he says the package has been delivered. He checked the tracking. But I didn't have a key in my mailbox. I thought maybe it got put in somebody else's by mistake."
"Did you look in the other boxes? If you saw it, you could contact the people to check on it."
"Oh, I would NEVER open up somebody else's mailbox! That's against the law, I think."
"I do it when I get somebody else's mail in my box. To see if that's who it belongs to. Some of them don't have numbers on them."
"I've had Buddy up the road get my mail, and his wife brings it to me. Then there's a gentleman on up the county road with the same number address, different street, that gets mine sometimes. And he calls me to come get it."
"You are very lucky. I've had BILLS go missing several times, and nobody ever brings them to me. If I don't know who it belongs to, I drive it into town and put it back in the mailbox. They can just deliver it until they get it right."
Mrs. HM is not in the business of tracking down strangers whose mail appears in EmBee, and delivering it to them out of the goodness of her heart. She did that with some UPS (Unqualified People Shipping) boxes one Christmas season, taking them up the gravel road, and thought she might be killed. [Here's a snippet from that rabbit trail of a blog, not archived by single posts, way back on December 16, 2005, a post with the title of "Jack London, Bad Boys, and Deliverance."]
We arrived home to find three large packages on our back porch.
I didn't think I was spoiling my kids THAT much for Christmas.
I hauled them in, and found out that two of them were not ours.
(The packages, not the kids.) Go figure. Our address is 7365.
The address on these two was 7414. Gosh. Even my seven-year-
old could guess that these packages go to two different houses.
Gosh-darn UPS (Unqualified People Shipping). We called a
neighbor's girlfriend with the same first name as on the package.
Nope. Not hers. But her address is 7400, so that was a workable
clue. We drove up the road until we found the address.
At this point, I am making a NOTE TO SELF: Hillbilly Mom,
when you want to live dangerously, next time leave the
children safe at home. This driveway wound through the woods.
Then we passed the pen with the goats. Then the dog on a chain.
The front yard housed a cathouse. Not that kind. For a little kitty.
Next thing we know, the garage door started to rise. Then a
Deliverance-looking fellow popped up from behind the open
hood of a cherry-red Corvette and walked toward us. #1 son
was already out of our large SUV, as I had commanded him to
go knock and announce that we were delivering UPS packages.
This guy had most of his teeth, no hair, and bleeding knuckles.
I hoped I had not interrupted a human sacrifice in the garage,
and that he had just nicked them on some sharp engine thingy.
The goats were bleating or baaing or whatever little horny goats
do. Chickens ran around in the yard. A black cat tip-toed around
the cathouse, rubbing on the corner, looking at us like: "This is
mine. Don't you even come over here." The guy said, "You didn't
have to bring them. You could have called." Uh, yeah. We didn't
even know if they had a phone. He said he gets packages for an
auto body shop that is out on the county road. Stupid UPS. I
guess the deliverer thought, "Hey, it's Friday afternoon. I'll just
leave the rest of my packages here, they'll give them to the
neighbor. WooHoo! Weekend!" Stupid UPS. I liked the old
driver, a woman who threw out dog biscuits to the animals.
You hardly even knew she was there. She would drive up, grab
the package, toss her biscuits on the porch, set down the package,
rap three times on the kitchen door, and was gone by the time
you looked out. She must have a better route now.
"Oh, I would never have my important mail sent here! My bills go to my post office box in town. I wouldn't be that worried, but it's a PS Vita for my son. I don't want somebody else to get it. And it says it was delivered."
"Okay. I'll go look."
"I'll follow you."
Just then, she got a phone call, so I went on while Daisy sat on her 4-wheeler taking the call. We both know there's hardly any reception down in the bottom by the mailbox condo. I parked and walked across the road to EmBee. Only mail. Mostly election propaganda. I wanted to wait so Daisy could see that I didn't palm the key for her PS Vita, but I was not going to stand along the road. Another car came out and went towards town. Then here came Daisy. 4-wheelin'.
"Sorry, I didn't have a key in my box."
"That's okay. My husband thinks maybe they delivered it to the post office box." (Which normally they won't do, you know. But this is the dead-mouse-smelling post office we're talking about.) "I'll go to town and check on it. Thank you."
Well, good luck to Daisy Dukes. Because it was already 12:15, and the dead-mouse-smelling post office closes at noon. Or 12:30. Or whenever they feel like it on any given Saturday.
*Let the record show that the #1 son received his missing letter Monday afternoon, 7 days after mailing. And that The Pony still has not gotten his as of tonight.