Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Mail call comes to West Texas...

This was in an art-deco period post office on the trip last weekend. A long, tall, west Texan was flipping through his mail at the table against a wall, and I snapped the photo of his keys in the door of his open mailbox. He asked me where we were from and I told him. He told me his family has had this mail box for about 100 years. His grandparents, then his parents, and now him for the past 40 years. I asked if he got junk mail for anyone else in the family, and he laughed and said no. He went on to say, in fact, that he would always fill the junk mail reply envelopes with their own garbage mail, and they finally left off sending him anything. Nice fellow. He told us where the local jail was and a nice area museum.

I felt honored that locals would be so generous and take a minute to talk about their town and its history. The lady at the checkout desk at the motel was the same, telling me about her brother who fought in Korea and several tours of Vietnam, and about how the arched bridge I mentioned yesterday was his favorite place. She said he passed away a bit ago and she'd go there to feel close to him. What a lovely and intensely personal thing to share with a complete stranger. I felt like she was kinfolk.

Here's one interesting bit of trivia I picked up on the trip - the reason why towns along highway 287 are all approximately 30 miles apart is because back in the day, the steam locomotives had to stop for water about every 30 miles. Cool, eh?

I picked up the doglet from the spa, and got her home. Funny thing is that she is not accustomed to a very social, busy environment, generally, so I suspect she's awake and alert the whole time she's at the dog place. I think she fancies she needs to manage every living creature in the surrounding acreage, and watches all the people and dogs intently. Thus, upon returning home, it is necessary for her to nap for days. We came in the door Monday afternoon and she went to her water bowl and drank for about 2 minutes straight, and then I let her out. Not 5 minutes later, she was snoozing like Rip van Winkle, all settled in for a multi-decade sleep event. Reluctantly, she has awakened a few times since, but generally, she's just snooze city. It's good to be a doglet.


Tickersoid said...

Poor stressed out doglet.

Anonymous said...

Oh my word! That describes my dog to a T. She is so intense, and I bet if she were a human, she would be in the military. She does not know how to just relax and take it easy, and it on edge all the time. It doesn't help that we live in a noisy apt. complex, either. I hope she learns that she can just lay down and relax. It is okay to do that. Not every noise means someone breaking into the house...Lol.

The only thing worse than home was when we went to my brother's for Christmas. She was used to being with just Mommy and Daddy. Now, she has them, her aunt and uncle, 5 "cousins" and another dog to deal with. She doesn't do well with other dogs...lol. She was a mess! Then, when we got home, she seemed to sleep almost non-stop for about 2-3 days after that. She survived, though, and she will learn to do it again. BTW, Pippin is a 6 year old German Shepherd that we adopted last summer. We need to get her into obedience classes to deal w/ some of this stuff, I know.

phlegmfatale said...

tickersoid - yeah, poor lamb!

kiki b - Yeah, German Shepherds ARE so military. So "ein, zwei, drei, fir!" They also communicate differently than other dogs do. Other dogs of different breeds will run up to each other and say hello and figure out some common ground, whereas German Shepherds only understand one way of communication, but GS' only understand their way of communicating and can't adjust to other dogs. The sort of broadside body-bumping (saying Howdy!) a Lab will do, for example, baffles and seems like aggression to a GS. If you do obedience training, it's the training of the humans that's most important in the equation. Also, if your GS barks when you're gone, be sure and close the blinds/curtains, because you can bet she's barking at every squirrel and bird that passes by. And yes, your visit with family was just a big military exercise for her. Lots of people to manage!

Dave MacIntyre said...

Your first shot of the mailboxes is fantastic! I saw a VERY similar shot to this featured in an online photo competition...so similar in fact that I immediately looked it up to see (a) if it was the same shot possibly "stolen" from you or (b) posted by you! :) Not the same photo as it turned out. Great post.

phlegmfatale said...

Wow, dave macintyre - coming from a superb photographer such as yourself, I'm deeply honored. I just saw that long bank of vintage mail boxes in such great condition, and it was a joy to see. Old post office boxes to me are elegant and beautifully rendered. It's nice to see a place where they are kept in such fine condition and not replaced by modern, tacky design-of-the-moment. The preservation of this post office as originally designed, as much as anything, makes me want to live in this town.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Welcome home doglet! My cat behaves much the same way after being out until 3:00am. She seems to have a larger sleep need than the doglet.

That wall of mailboxes is the loveliest thing I have seen in a long time. I could live in a room like that.

FHB said...

There's a cool old antique place in Salado that used to be a hotel, and has a bank of boxes like that behind a set of bars. Pretty cool. The folks out there in the boonies sound very cool. Small town, folksy.

My cats always snooze and shun me when I bring them back from a lengthy stay at the vet, but then they snooze all the time anyway, so I can't tell the difference. After a while they come along and suck up to make nice. They better, damn it, 'cause I control the vittles.

Still waitin' on the picture of that damn table.

Zelda said...

Those post office boxes are so so cool. We used to have similar ones in the town I lived in as a child. Never thought to appreciate them until I see the ones they have now.

HollyB said...

My Daddy was the last of a "breed" of Postal Employees...he started as a Carrier and rose through the ranks to become the Postmaster all in the same little town, Killeen. Nowadays, yu have to have at least a BBA and preferably an MBA to be a Poatmaster.
When I was a little girl, the P.O. in Killeen had ranks of boxes like your pic. Thanks for a trip down memory lane.

George said...

Interesting tales of our pets when we have to board them out.

Our Airedale never minded going to the kennel. But after a week or so of non-stop barking (all those other dogs, you know), she would be hoarse for several days when we picked her up.

She normally had a very gruff bark and to hear this little squeak come out of her mouth was a hoot.

Thanks for taking me back to some good times, PF.