P.O. Box Earth

To Whom It May Concern,

Some time ago, which seems now, almost an eternity, the post mistress received a box, addressed, well to nobody in town. The name says Mickey Richardson, but there isn’t one person anyone of us knows by that name. I’m sure you probably can’t imagine that a town this small, it is downright impossible for anyone to not be known, not to mention that we wouldn’t have an actual post office, but believe you me, we don’t. Our mail gets delivered to Carol Ann’s store. It’s a little store, but it has just about everything, even the town library, on a few shelves in the back aisle. So besides being our go-to place for all our necessary needs, it’s our place we pick up our mail.

But that’s not what I am writting about here. See we received this box, like I said, wrapped in brown paper. You should see all of the stickers and stamps on it. I swear, it sure seems like this little box has been around the world.

Everybody in town has been wondering, who is this Mickey Richardson? And why is he getting mail to him in our town? You know what I’m talking about. In such a small town, who has anything more to talk about than the next new mystery to be solved. So we all trickled into Carol Ann’s store, as our time to pick up our mail comes around.

Oh, that just makes me think of Arlo Guthrie, how he did his live Alice’s Restaurant shows, strumming his guitar, and says, “I’m just waiting for it to come around again,” you know to where the song can begin. That’s so funny. It is my mom’s record.

But anyway, like I said, we all stop in at the store, and pretty soon there’s a whole group of us just standing around looking at the box, guessing who it is really for. We even each took a turn at guessing what was in it. It’s not the largest box in the world.

In fact, just let me tell you the story about the biggest box that ever came in. It was to Steve, our local D.J. and this box was major big. I mean, a man of six feet tall could lay down inside of the box, is how big it was. Can you imagine? And Steve takes it home in his truck, with the help of Bernie, his brother, who he’s just found out was his brother after like almost 30 years of life. Imagine that? So they get this big box to Steve’s house, which, by the way, is a pull trailer. He lives on a lake. Well, not on the lake, but, you know, on the bank of it. Just gorgeous. So, they get this big old box home to his house, and pry it open, and oh my gosh and golly, there was a real live dead body in it! It was a friend of Steve’s and a whole other story. That must have been the weirdest mail that’s ever come into our little town.

So, we have this next weird box, that isn’t at all as big, but seems to have some stuff rattling around in it. But we can’t open it. It’s not really legal to open somebody else’s mail, you know. But it just makes us all the more curious to know what it’s all about. Finally our doctor comes in, to pick his mail up, and we tell him about it, and he looks at it, and rattles it, and we still can’t figure out what it is. Gosh we have fun all coming up with what is in there.

Did I mention that the mail comes by way of airplane. Yes, it’s a little bush plane, I think they call it. Our own Peggy O’Riley is a real live pilot, and the plane comes into this field outside of the main part of town. So Peggy was the first to have it and just delivered it right smack into Carol Ann’s hands, and that is when it all began, this guessing game we’re having.

We figure if we can’t actually open it, and let me tell you, there is some arguments back and forth between those of us who want to open it and those of us who think it’s none of our business, and not allowed, anyway.

We figured the Doc would come to the rescue, sort of. Being a doctor, he’s got an x-ray machine in his office, but he says it’s illegal to tamper with mail. Well, it’s not actually tampering if you peek inside without opening it. Right? But he wouldn’t budge. That’s old Doc J. Just one stubborn cuss, if you ask me. But Peggy, she outsmarts him by going to get it x-rayed over at the airport security in a real airport she goes to where she gets the mail headed here. When she brings the x-rays back even Doc J, grumbling, allows us to look at them on his x-ray light thingy. We all tramp over there, which is just down the block, not like anybody has to get into cars and make a funeral like procession through town or anything.

We gather around the light thingy on his wall to look at what the pictures show might be in there. Well, let me tell you, there’s such a bunch of stuff that from this side of the x-ray makes no sense, so guess what we do? That’s right, we all sit around pointing to the picture calling out what we think it is. Some people were really funny with some of the ideas that came up.

But still, that doesn’t really help us with the whole problem of what to do with the box. Carol Ann decides, it’s time for a town meeting. Everybody meets up at the church later that night and we all talk about if it is right to open it, or not. Sally actually is the one who runs the meeting, being the former mayor’s almost wife, cause their not married, but almost have been a lot of times.

Doc J still holds out that its not legal to open it, but Steve he says let’s do it, and Peggy says she’ll take the risk of opening the package. Good ole Peggy. Cause, well, I was for it all along. Steve, he kind of forces the whole issue by getting up and giving this way long speech about the price of knowledge. I don’t understand it much, but it did the trick, and everybody finally decided it was okay to open the package.

Everybody was happy, and there was dancing in the streets… Okay, no dancing in the streets. But Now I get to tell you what was in the box. It was so interesting because like everything in it had, on the surface, no connection, right? See there were maracas, and there was a boomerang, some wooden shoes and sunglasses, and some Chinese coins,  and lots of other things that were all passed around and we all got to take a look at them. It became an even bigger mystery than when we didn’t know what was in it.

But also in the package was a letter! Uh huh. In fact guess who the letter was from? Okay, well I’ll just tell you. It was Mickey Richardson! Oh my gosh and golly, can you even imagine how strange that was. It was dated May 24, 1998, which was pretty much before I was born, but that is what history is like. It happens before you’re born sometimes. Mickey was eight years old when he wrote this letter, and mailed out the package. See, Mickey sent out this package to go where he could not since, well, he was only eight years old. So he asks anyone who receives this package to please put something of their own in it and then to mail it back out to someplace far away!

Well the mystery of the box is solved, but now all of us are left to decide what we should put in it. It wasn’t as big a problem as deciding if we should open it, but it sure took a lot of ideas what would be the best thing to put in. Now, here in town, we have our own local film maker, who isn’t all hollywood, if you know what I mean. He’s just making his way writing and filming. His name is Jesse, and he suggests we put a video tape, but not of his movie, no, of copy of “Casablanca.” Jesse likes old movies. But there’s also the cook from Hole In The Wall, a restaurant in town, his name is Jimmy Bear, who wants to add morel mushrooms from his yard. Carol Ann, herself thinks a moose wood carving is good, and Peggy likes the idea of a plate with a picture of a the state bird on it. But in the end, we all decide there’s one thing that everybody has at one time come into contact with, and that’s old Doc J’s thermometer.

So we all agree and we ask Jesse to pick a place, by him stopping the spinning globe resting on Carol Ann’s counter. So our happy little package, now all wrapped up, and holding our own addition to the box, plus the letter from Mickey Richardson, is addressed to Mickey and is heading for Pune, India. I sure hope one day Mickey gets this back so he knows all the places he went in his space ship of the imagination.

So, I’m writing this letter to you, who ever you are who gets it, to try my own experiment and see if my letter can go all around the world too, and see if it might one day, maybe when I’m as old as Carol Ann, sitting in my rocking chair on my porch, and get a letter back that tells me about all the places it went and all the stories about how the people in your town figured out the reason for this letter. I just ask that you don’t throw this away but mail it to my name in a place far away from your own home town. Maybe you can put a stamp from your home town inside the envelope.

Sincerely yours,

Carinda Chelsea Adamson