Mom and Tag - Olivia Newport

Photo by Larry Mohr

When I visited my mother in Florida last summer, she threatened to move the recycling bin right next to the mailbox. Then she would let the mail carrier know to just put the delivery directly in the bin. More recently, my brother who shares her home told me that she said,

“I wish I had a fireplace right at the curb.”

Do you think she’s sick of junk mail? Tell us how you really feel, Mom! She’s 86, so I figure she’s probably been getting junk mail for at least 65 years. Enough already.

I know how she feels. Many days I get the mail, walk through the garage, drop the whole lot in the recycling bin without breaking stride, and return to my business inside the house like it never came.

The fascinating thing is that I still want to check the mail. Every day. As if I think a life-changing surprise is possible. So okay, occasionally there is a check for some writing work I’ve done, but mostly it’s companies who want to part my money from me, whether for legitimate services I’ve used or things that never crossed my mind to need. Yet I go.

I suppose I understand picking up the mail promptly in this age of identity theft. What I understand less is the litany of hope I carry on each short journey to the mailbox and the tinge of disappointment when the bundle includes no surprise after all.

Somebody explain that to me.

• Are you a mailbox watcher?