For years while building my house in the boondocks of Oregon I lived in a leaky trailer with no electricity and the only running water was rain that leaked through the roof. I finally moved into the house about twenty-years ago. That means that many things in the house are 20-years-old and are falling apart and/or breaking down almost simultaneously. The joys of home ownership.The latest thing to give out was the black locust pole I used to hold up my extra large mailbox. You know you lead a dull life when installing a post for your snail-mailbox is considered a major event.
“Kind of a big box, isn’t it?” asked the cashier who rang up the mailbox when I bought it twenty-years ago.
“I get big mail,” I explained.
“Big bills?” she quipped.
“No, big rejections.” I replied.
Back then I still submitted photocopies of my cartoons along with a self-addressed-stamped-envelope to magazines via snail mail. Like many a freelancer, I often thought of using New Yorker rejection letters as wallpaper. Instead I opted for more rustic wood planking.
When I used a black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) pole to hold up the box, I did so as a sort of homage to the homesteaders. They introduced the tree because, even untreated, the wood lasts a long time and was used for fence posts. I also used black locust because I literally had tons of the stuff after cutting a 30-foot by gazillion-foot swath through a grove of them so the electric company could hook me up to power. The reason I say a gazillion-feet is because that’s what it seemed like at the time when a friend and I were cutting them. He went through three chain saws. That’s how hard the stuff is.
Anyway, that pole finally gave out. Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on your point of view, a huge black locust tree was uprooted this past winter and took out those power lines. This time it was the electric company’s chain saws that were dulled, and I was again left with lots of black locust poles to choose from.
My neighbor, Chuck, helped me install the new mailbox post. For the heck of it, we checked what the U.S.P.S. regulations are on the positioning of such poles. Like I said, we don’t exactly lead action packed lives. Should you want to know, a rural mailbox is supposed to be 41” to 45” off the ground and not buried more than 24” deep, so it can give way in an accident. Running into mailboxes? Is that a variation of going postal?
Chuck and I take a long walk every morning, and now we take time to examine mail boxes and we both agree that my pole is the best looking one on the road, and may be one of the few in compliance.
I now submit all my cartoons via email, but maybe I should send a few out the old fashioned way so I don’t feel the beautiful post is being wasted.