Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Strange, But True

In the area of truth being stranger than fiction, a couple of stories always come to my mind:

As a district supervisor for a chain of clothing stores, my father travelled out of town all my life. Such a schedule requires the traveler to eat at many restaurants. On one such occasion, my father had just paid for his meal, a hamburger, fries and soft drink, and was seating himself in a booth. To his surprise, seated in an adjacent booth, was Colonel Sanders, of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame, dressed in his traditional attire. Colonel Sanders noticed my father's surprise, turned to him and remarked, “Well, we can't eat chicken all the time, can we."

Not long before my grandmother passed away, the greeting card industry entered a new era of technology where computer chips and a small battery were added to cards enabling the cards to play a variety of Christmas carols when opened. My wife and I bought several cards to send to a few relatives. One of these cards was sent to my grandmother.

In her mid-seventies, she had seen many marvelous improvements and technological advances over the years. In her town, for example, you didn't need to write a full mailing address or box number for her to get your letter. Her name, the name of the small town in which she lived and the zip code were sufficient. The post office only had about 200 boxes total, and some of those were not in use. Somehow, somewhere the card we sent my grandmother was bent slightly. The computer chip inside began to quietly play its repertoire of about eight songs.

The postmaster's wife, who doubled as attendant at their grocery store-gas station-post office, upon hearing the music, sent her husband outside to check the restrooms to see if perhaps someone was there with a radio. Dutifully, the postmaster checked both restrooms then all around the building without locating the source of the music. As the two of them listened more carefully, they could tell that the music was coming from the mail room

"It must be one of these packages." one of them remarked.

They must have been quite a site as they carefully listened to each the large packages, then continued with the letters and cards until they located a cheery little envelope performing its own recital. They decided that it would be best to make a special delivery of the mail and promptly took it to my grandmother.
"Special delivery for you, Velma." they said as my grandmother opened the door.

They explained what happened and waited as she opened the card. By carefully straightening the bent card the two of them were able to repair the card's on/off switch and make it function properly again. Anxious to share this marvel with someone else, my grandmother called one of my aunt's

"Reva," she began, "Would you like to hear my Christmas card from Twist and Helen?"

My aunt said she would and listened for her to begin reading the card over the phone. Instead she heard the miniature recital which had been performed already for my grandmother, a postmaster, his wife and unknown countless postal and airlines workers

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