Writer’s Note: (An earlier work from 2014 some of you will remember as titled X-Ray Specs.
I re-wrote, changed the delivery and created a work of art for 2017. I gave a newspaper the right to publish it and figured they would have jumped at the chance, even more so, since on Friday, The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics wrote there will be a 28% decline in employment of mail-carriers by 2024, which translates to 136,000 jobs.
It is worthy of as much support a reader can give it by sharing and passing around. This is brilliant writing on many levels. I am proud to give this to you in exchange for you to be passionate about it and promote it. That is how an artist thrives in the Underground.)
The Last Delivery
His hand was shaking putting the last pieces of mail in the box for the residence just off West Street in Annapolis. A few plastic trays of mail pick-ups were left to take back to the station. This was James Finamore’s last day, officially retiring as an employee of the Annapolis Post Office after thirty-eight years.
He still had one last delivery.
Over the years, he routinely showed up at Annapolis Middle School, picking up his granddaughter after work in his 2010 Hyundai Sonata.
Caroline was a month away from graduating and going into high school. After classes she walked to Pop-Pop’s old Hyundai, oblivious, and texting her girlfriends and boyfriends. She would say; “Hi Pop-Pop,” resuming her texting while he always delivered her safely to his son’s house.
The Hyundai wasn’t there and she saw him waiting in the Post office jeep. She saw there wasn’t a passenger seat and he told her to just hop in and sit behind the few trays of mail due back at the station, and now thirty minutes late.
“Did your car breakdown Pop-Pop?”
“No Caroline, I just wanted to show and tell you something on my last day as a mailman.”
He drove to a cul-de-sac on his route and said; “No one waits for the mailman anymore. Even dogs no longer bark or chase the mailman. My world is obsolete Caroline, and though somethings are gone, it is important for me to share this with you today.”
He told her how he used to deliver cards and love letters, and could tell by the outside envelopes the affections people were showing to one another and how love is now emailed.
“In my day, men and women were once judged and seen through their handwriting, but now are measured by typed texts. Spell-Check now corrects errors. “Send” is pressed to deliver a message. Everything is bulk mail advertising or packages from Amazon. No one waits by the curb.”
“Only your Grandma, and some like her are left doing such things. Maybe you and other kids will notice their elderly scrawl of sending their love, and experience an occasional postal rejoice of, “Look what I got in the mail from Nanny!”
“When I was a boy we were all enticed by the comic book ads, and would send away for X-RAY SPECS looking for a super human vision upon the world, or Sea Monkeys, and small, live Seahorses. We would wait at the curb for the mailman every day till those things arrived. That excitement is long gone. The world grew more sophisticated, artificially smart, and the magic of Sea Monkeys became just brine shrimp.”
“I wanted to tell you Caroline, don’t marry a man till you see his handwriting. Don’t marry a man who will not wait by the curb for you. Find a man who believes in Sea Monkeys, sends you love letters in the mail, and wants X-RAY SPECS.”
James Finamore delivered Caroline home, returned the jeep and retired.
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