22 December 2011

Sepia Saturday 106: The Intrepid Postman and the Very Special Package.

Waiting for the postman's package delivery each day during the month of December was one of my children's favorite activities. All their aunts and uncles lived out-of-state and it seemed that each new day brought more presents to put under tree. The phone rang early in morning ...

"Ma'am, this is the Post Office. We have a suspicious package for you. The zip code is wrong .... Are you expecting anything from Arkansas?" The return address may have been missing as well.

"My sister lives in Arkansas and she usually sends presents" was my confused reply. Why all the fuss?

"Well, okay then, I'll have the package put on the truck."

A few minutes later the phone rang ...

"Ma'am, this is the Post Office again. Is there any chance your sister might have sent you something alive? The box moves whenever we try to pick it up."

"Well, yes, I suppose it is possible ...."  Immediately the thought of snakes and other reptiles sprang to mind. Did my sister send a pet iguana? I knew my nephew loved his iguana ....

"I'm afraid we are going to have to x-ray the package before we deliver it. There is something very suspicious about this box."

Time passed and I waited to learn what would unfold next .... Exactly what did they do to you if you sent live animals through the mail? Would the package be delivered? Would my sister end up in jail? I didn't have to wait long before the next call came.

"Ma'am, this is the Post Office. I'm afraid we are going to have to open the package. It doesn't look like there is anything alive in there but there are a lot of wires and we can't rule out the possibility that it is a bomb."

An interminable wait longer ...

A relieved postman called to say, "Everything is just fine. It was a Christmas present - two in fact. I unwrapped them as carefully as I could. [Well, wouldn't you if you thought there was a bomb inside!] It should be no problem to wrap them back up again. It's too late to put these on the truck for delivery before Christmas. Oh, tell your sister to leave the batteries out the next time she ships something."

A little while later the phone rang again. What next?

"Ma'am, I re-wrapped the presents as well as I could. I'm headed your way and can drop off the package  personally."

I soon met the intrepid postman who had braved the moving box and then re-wrapped the presents so carefully that no one would be the wiser. The batteries were now loose in the box. So what was inside ...

Chris Stratton trying to uncover the mysterious movement of the Hip-Hopper.
He was fast asleep soon after.
To get an idea of what the poor postman saw in the x-ray ...

Yuri Gitman, http://yg.typepad.com/makingtoys5/2008/09/02-disassemble.html
"Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night[, nor live animals, nor bomb squads nor departed delivery trucks] stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds." Thank you Mr. Postman and all postmen and deliverymen everywhere. You make our Christmas brighter.

This is but one of many Sepia Saturday posts inspired by Mr. Postman. Hop on over to Sepia Saturday 106 to read more. Merry Christmas to all!

This true story was first sent to family and friends as our Christmas letter in the late 1990s. If, by chance, you have a copy floating around, I'd love to have one. If one of the postmen who made this story possible should happen upon this post, I'd love to hear your side of the tale! All comments welcome!


  1. Someone in Minneapolis tried to mail a live puppy to her son a couple of years ago. I get upset just thinking about it.

  2. OUCH!!!! I cannot in my wildest dreams imagine such a thing!

    Truly, while I could not rule out that something was alive in the box, I REALLY never expected it. That said, I was reluctant to say so when Mr. Postman said the box moved on contact. What else could explain it?

    Merry Christmas!

  3. That is a REALLY FANTASTIC STORY! I'm glad you put it here for your family to read over the years. I hope you get a copy of the original.

  4. Great story. Those inner elements on their own look scary! Sigh. The way we live now.

  5. These days they are more likely to carry out a controlled explosion just to make sure. A postman worth his weight in gold to go to all that trouble.

  6. I thought you were going to say someone was having a joke at your expense. It seems you had a very dedicated postman.

  7. Kathy - I'm keeping my fingers crossed. My sister emailed it as her 'Christmas Card' that year. Hopefully she has a copy in her old sent mail. My email disappeared when my Outlook database got to big and crashed!

    Linda - The patent diagram for a similar toy is pretty amazing. I think I would call in the bomb squad if I had seen all those wires and gears!

    Bob - Post 9/11 is a very different world here. I doubt they would call first now.

    Nell - We have a major sorting center nearby. It was the postman from the center that went so far out of his way. I truly regret that I didn't get his name so that I could thank him more properly. His picture would have been the perfect addition to the post!

  8. American Postman Are Good........In England,I suspect,They would have just thrown it in a bucket of Water!!!!

  9. Tony, All my cookies are coming out flat today but your humor certainly isn't. Thanks for a good laugh!

  10. Post 9/11, the FBI would have busted your door...

    What a true Xmas tale! I loved-loved-loved it!!
    And what a great ending, the man taking it upon himself to hand deliver it. Could be movie-of-the-week!!
    Merry Xmas!!

  11. Ticklebear, Glad you enjoyed it. I still laugh when I think of the mayhem that package caused. Enjoy the rest of your break. Happy New Year!

    P.S. Love your kitties. We have 2 cats and a dog.

  12. Then, with 3 pets, your hands are full!!

  13. Cute story. It shows what a connected place you live in. I can't imagine getting so many calls from the postman for a "moving" package. Just toss it out if it's suspicious!
    Thanks for following my blog at Family Archaeologist!
    Happy New Year.

  14. Thanks Linda, I've discovered some family diaries in the 'attic' and love the treatment you are giving the diary on your blog! I need to finish my archival journey but can't wait to get started on the diaries. Your blog is inspiration!

  15. Oh, how funny - I bet the postal workers told that tale a few times as well :-) Jo

  16. Jo, I keep hoping that one of the postmen will find it and tell me their side of the story!

  17. The best tall tales are the true ones. A super holiday story. Best wishes for 2012


Comments welcome!