Because he asked me to. And, if I've learned anything in this life, it's that you don't want your mailman to be mad at you. Because I'm still trying to figure out where things went wrong between me and Tony.
Tony was the mailman of my childhood--a tall, friendly guy who always had the time to stop and chat (which, now that I think of it was probably why our mail arrived so late each day). But, anyway, we loved Tony, and whenever we'd see him coming on a hot summer day, my sister and I would run in the house to get him a cold glass of water or a Popsicle. And, he was funny too--always teasing and joking in the style of my family.
But somewhere something went wrong.
Was it the time when, at the age of thirteen, I ordered every catalog known to humankind and Tony had to not only deliver them all, but also try to fit them into my parents' tiny mailbox?
No. It couldn't have been that because even though he teased me about it, Tony knew the importance of keeping up on the latest fashion trends. And, he would never interfere with my catalog ordering.
Maybe it was the time that he thought we forgot to send him a postcard when we were on vacation?
It couldn't have been that because after several weeks of his refusal to believe that said postcard was actually sent, he found that the postmaster (who was also named Tony) had confiscated it and hung it in his own office, and all was well again. We then knew that simply addressing a postcard to "Tony the Mailman" could cause confusion and misunderstanding all around. (Wait, are you saying that your mailman doesn't require you to send him postcards when you go away on trips? Weird!)
No, I think the crack in our relationship started when I went off to college.
The first summer that I was home, I expected a happy greeting from my old friend Tony, but I was greeted instead with a sarcastic, "Weelll, look who decided to come back!" At first I thought he was just joking, but this was followed on subsequent days with comments, such as, "Sooo, you think you can just get your mail delivered here again, do ya?"
My sister loved this and soon was in cahoots with Tony to scold me for having the audacity to go away to further my education and then expect to still have mail delivered to my parents' place of residence. That was some nerve I had!
Each summer, Tony's reproach became worse, to the point where I began to realize that he might actually be serious. And, when I moved to Columbus, it was the last straw. There was no amount of Popsicles, or postcards, or cool glasses of water that would make Tony like me again. I guess the thing that made him so upset with me was that I changed addresses!
Sometimes I think of my career, my husband, our two beautiful daughters, and our home here in Columbus, and I think, "I gave it all up to have this!" (And, by "all" I mean my relationship with my childhood mailman whose last name I don't even know, although it might begin with R.)
And, so now you are probably not surprised when I say I am baking cookies for my new mailman. I mean, I did start it by giving him some, unsolicited, last month. And, Carlton is a tall, friendly guy who always has time to stop and chat, and he doesn't mind delivering all my catalogs and packages, and I'm thinking of sending him a postcard when we go away on our next trip, and I don't know his last name, but I'm definitely going to find out...