Recently I happened to be driving near my old neighborhood and decided to drive by the house that I grew up in. There were workers outside who were fixing the mailbox. They were doing brick and cement work to enclose it.
When I lived in that house (my whole life until I went to college) the mailbox was connected to a large planter that was made out of brick that matched the house. Every year I planted flowers in it with my mom. I used to play there with my friends. We would try to jump off of it with our roller skates on. Every now and then some ants would start to build ant hills there and I would have a lot of fun pouring water over them and flooding them out.
But the best memory I have of that mailbox happened when I was in high school. Bob, my step-dad, had been doing yard work one night. He was pulling out some bushes that lined the driveway but had become overgrown. Bob tied a rope around the roots of the bushes, tied the other end to the back of his truck, and then would floor it to rip the bushes out. In order to do this, he had to move our blue Subaru station wagon back several feet to make room for the truck. (My first car, aka: the gutless blue-wonder- I still miss that car!)
Well, Bob never pulled the Subaru back to it’s usual position when he was done that night. The next morning my mom and I were running a little late to get me to school. This was before I could drive, so I must have been in 10th grade. We ran into the car, my mom gunned it, and crashed straight into the mailbox, hitting the mailbox's planter.
Then, one of the funniest moments of my life occurred: My mom said, “SHIT!” I guess this is only funny if you know my mom. She has been a dedicated church employee for almost 20 years. She is the relief society president in her ward. She probably has never seen an R rated movie. She was raised in a very proper home where good etiquette was strictly enforced. She is one of the most faithful, well-mannered, and even-tempered people I know. Now, that’s not to say that relief society presidents and church employees don’t swear, it’s just that this is so NOT my mom!
Bob ran outside to see what all the commotion was about. He asked, “What happened?” My mom got out of the car, tearfully ran to hug Bob, and sobbed, “I said a BAD WORD!”
Never mind any damage that the car or the mailbox may have incurred, the real tragedy in this scenario was that a cussword escaped.
From then on, every time I saw the spot where a couple of bricks were broken off the mailbox, I had a good laugh. It reminded me of my mom and Bob, and of the good times that we had.
Bob died two years ago. About 6 months before his death, he and my mom sold that house. Because the house was sold and Bob died so closely together, I tend to lump those two events together in my mind. Not only is Bob gone, but the house that we shared together, the house that we fought in, the house that we learned to love each other in, the house that Bob caught me sluffing school with a boy in (whoops!), the house where all of my memories of the life that we had together is gone.
So when I saw them covering up the mailbox, I got a little teary-eyed. It was hard to see. But I guess that’s life.
Sometimes I think maybe we should tell the new homeowners about our dog that we buried just next to the swing set…
No, if they are going to go around messing up all of my memories, they deserve to come across a dog skeleton or two.
1 day ago