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Every year when I go home I acquire stuff. People give me stuff and it won’t fit in my suitcase so I mail it. Yes, I use snail mail because with a Priority Flat Rate box I will receive it in 2 to 3 days. Usually, I do. But not this time. This box contained Emma’s birthday present and one of my at-home-private-lesson quilting projects of which I was most proud.

card box

I waited 2 days before checking the tracking number 17 times. My mom had sent the box on Monday because I left too early to do it myself. I made her promise to send it that day. She did. I made her pinky swear. She did. I made her promise to call me with the tracking number. She did. She called that afternoon to report she had completed her mission.

Day 3 the package had not arrived. I checked the tracking number 36 times that day. Layce kept eyeballing me. “It’s going to come,” she said.

“How do you know that? Is there another online site I should try?” I said, checking the tracking number for the 37th time.

“No, there isn’t. I’m just saying your box might be on the slow train but it’ll eventually arrive. They call it snail mail for a reason.”

“So what are you saying? I shouldn’t be concerned that my box is lost. It’s full of important things, irreplaceable things, things that I hold dear. It’s out there somewhere in the ether and not on our front porch where it should be. This is serious.”

“I realize that but it’s only been 3 days.”

“I don’t think you do. I mean where is it? The tracking number says it arrived at site and then it never moved again.”

I called my mother. “I sent it. I swear. I pinky swear,” she said.

“It’s not you. It says right here on the tracking number that you mailed it Monday morning at 9:48. It says it was picked up from the post office at 4: 45 and arrived at the plant at 5:10. And then the trail stopped.”

I don’t think my mother knew why I called to tell her this. I called because I needed my mother’s empathy and security to get me through this crisis of the lost box. If I lived in the same town, she’d hug me and I’d cry. Sometimes, a girl just needs her mother.

On day 4, I checked the porch every hour. No box. I hadn’t yet got to the point of harassing the mail carrier. I was once a mail lady so I knew how it felt to be hounded about a missing package. She would say, just like I did, “I’ll keep my eye out for it.” Which is impossible. This line might work on an unsuspecting innocent but not on a retired letter carrier. The mailing plants are enormous. My box could be anywhere. Anywhere except my porch.

mail lady

On day five, I took to the phone. I called every number I could find—submitting myself to endless phone trees. When it comes to the government these phone trees are like the Black Forest in Germany. Finally, I reached Pakistan. I got the answer I most dreaded. It was lost but now it was found—sort of.

“It got misrouted and now it’s back in Spokane,” the nice phone lady said. “You’ll get it next week, I’m sure.”

This relieved me—sort of. “If it got misrouted where did it go? Was there something wrong with the address that made it get misrouted? Can you check and see what the address is?”

She put me on hold seven times and then I’m pretty sure she misrepresented the facts. She told me they had a camera and took a picture of the box label but they couldn’t read it. It might have had something to do with all the clear strapping tape I’d covered the box in so I bought her story. I rechecked the tracking number for two more hours.

On Saturday the tracking number said it had arrived at the Tahlequah post office. I did a happy dance. Layce, who I think was ready to murder me, sighed with relief. Or I’m pretty sure it was relief. She had told me more than once that she was sick of hearing about THE BOX. So it probably was relief.

At 11:26 on Saturday we were on our way to Tulsa. I spotted the postal vehicle driving through our neighborhood. I fingered the car door handle. Layce wasn’t going over twenty-five MPH. If I leapt out right now how bad would I get hurt?

mail truck

Layce glanced over at me. “Do you want to stop and check with the mail lady?”


The mail lady had the box! I got in the car and clutched it to my breast. “I am so relieved. You can’t imagine,” I told Layce.

“Oh, I think I can,” she said.

NOTE FROM LAYCE: Saxon Dearest, If I hear one more thing from you about this box, I’m going to lose it. I have lived with ‘The Box’ for over a month now and it’s time to let it go–capish.

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Comments on: "THE BOX" (5)

  1. alaimie said:

    As a newly retired operations manager with USPS, the APPS (automated package processing system) machine does take a photo of each package processed. I had to track a package with a incorrectly addressed package as it looped from Oakland to San Jose and San Francisco for 21 days for a customer. You were lucky.

  2. I am still waiting on a box that was shipped to me while I was deployed, multiple boxes actually, but I have given up hope to ever see them. I left almost 3 years ago and got back 2 years ago this past May. Pretty sure they are MIA at this point. But I am glad you got your box 🙂

  3. If I was waiting for an important box I would have kept checking too….

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