In my local post office, the clerks have no sense of humor. One town over, the postal clerks are much too officious, and one town away from them, the line is always too long and the lobby smells of old wet non-delivered letters.
I don’t want to be rushed or frowned on or holding my nose when I send a precious package to my mom. She lives seven hours away and misses me. My packages are one way for us to feel closer.
I sidle up to the “friendly” post office counter, trying to look relaxed and casual. “Do you think I’m being too optimistic?” I ask shyly, pushing my parcel in front of the male clerk.
John (his nametag reads), 50s, balding, sparkly eyes, replies, “What makes you say that?”
“I can’t seem to close it,” I explain, “and I’m not sure even your super-duper tape will keep it safe.”
“What’s in there?” John asks, knowing he’s not supposed to.
“The best cookies in the state. Well, actually, the country,” I answer.
“Ah, so that’s why you’ve hidden them so well.” He seems impressed, in a droll way.
“It’s a secret,” I whisper. “Don’t tell any of the other postal people or these will never get to Delaware.”
He laughs and holds up a finger. “Wait here.”
I pull the cookies wrapped in a dozen ways out of the Priority Mail flat envelope that is impossible to close.
John brings out a squishy, padded Priority Envelope, bigger than the flat one, but not as big as the other ones I’ve seen displayed.
“That’s perfect!” I exclaim. “I’ve never seen these before!”
He places his finger to his pursed lips. “We hide them in the back. Just for something special, like this.”
“For you? $7.50,” John replies, winking. “What a deal, for a package that’s pure gold.”