When I was just starting high school after moving back to Colorado from five years in Oklahoma, we got a call from the post office to come pick up a package addressed to me. It was ticking and no one at the post office wanted to touch it, and certainly not carry it around in their trucks for delivery. A different era, when that was the reaction to a suspicious package.
My mom drove me to the post office and I collected my package. It was indeed ticking. They handed the brown paper wrapped parcel over with relief. And I took it with curiosity. I never really thought it would explode, but like I said, this was a different era.
Inside was a bird. A yellow plush bird toy on a long spring. My friend Steve from Oklahoma had sent it to me for fun. It had a power switch that had been bumped on somewhere in transit. After it had been going for days in the back of transport trucks or while waiting to be sorted in postal warehouses, the batteries had worn down to almost no juice and the birdsong was reduced to a steady muffled clicking. With new batteries, the cute bird tweeted and sang while bouncing up and down on its long spring.
It was a delightful gift. And it certainly left an impression on me, with the postal service participating in the delivery in such a memorable way. I’ll always remember it. And I also can’t help but remember those more “innocent” times, when I could get a ticking package and it was handled like it was. I used to hear old people talk about the good ol’ days. Guess I’m one of those old people now.
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