Sunday, March 20, 2011

*Neither Rain Nor Snow . . . The Tale of a Small Thing Making Me Happy




 The Tale of Blaise Pascal, PK, and the Post Box 

I live on what we call a "hill" in Vermont which would be a mountain anywhere else.  After 19 years of delivering my mail every week day faultlessly, the same mail carrier this winter stopped delivering mail to me at all for a full week.

In an economic move, his employers told him that they would no longer pay the mileage for him to use his personal front-wheel-drive vehicle and that he must use the rear-wheel-drive vehicle supplied by the U.S. Post Office.

My mailbox had stood with others in a clotch across the street from my house in the mouth of a private road. 

This year, the snow removal for that private road changed hands (or plows) and the mouth of the driveway was plowed only the width of a single vehicle. The rear-wheel-drive vehicle of the Post Office could not turn around in a single lane and was forbidden by regulation from "backing up."

Hence, the mail carrier's passing me by for a full week.  

My solution?  

Buy a new mailbox and plunk it down across the street in front of my own house.

Pascal says "All man needs to be happy is something to be enthusiastic about."

I can't believe how pleased I am over this "new" mailbox.  It is made entirely of weatherproof plastic (Rubbermaid) and has two doors, so that I can open it from the rear without ever going on to the road.

You would think I had bought a new house itself not simply a mailbox, with the enthusiasm I have conjured up over this new device and its abrupt liberation from its 19-year station across the street.

Pascal reigns.

   It seems almost profane of me  to write a post on such a frivolity when hundreds of thousands of people are suffering in Japan. I believe, however, that Pascal's insight applies even to those who have been so traumatized.  The small satisfactions and smiles of rebuilding a life can heal even the greatest suffering.  Sadly, the Japanese know Pascal's insight from their horrific experience in  1945.

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