Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Neither Snow Nor Rain Nor Heat Nor Gloom of Night

                                    Neither Snow Nor Rain Nor Heat Nor Gloom of Night
            Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds reads an inscription on the James Farley Post Office in New York City, the unofficial postal creed.

            Maybe the creed also applies to the UPS. Although it makes no mention of tornado, hurricane, earthquake, tsunami or flash flood or volcano, I believe both delivery services strive to do a decent job.

            Through my own stupidity, I got tangled in a Brown Truck nightmare.

            Nearest I can figure I got stupid April 28.  Richard and I were walking the beach. Kathy was housebound, had sliced her heel on a broken bottle in the sand. Richard and I cut across the beach to the street so I could use the nearby ATM machine. We are long time friends with like interests. My mind was distracted with our stimulating conversation. I think I left my card in the machine. I’m not sure. I can create another couple possible scenarios, equally stupid.

            It took me two days to discover my card was missing. I checked my account. No activity. That was a relief. I emailed Debbie at Bear Paw, who had saved me from myself before this, asked her to stop the card, to issue a new one and mail it to my daughter who would send me the card via UPS.  

            No worries. In a couple weeks I would have a new card. Meanwhile, friends were in town. Then my cousin came for a week. I had places to go, people to see, things to do. I had pesos in my wallet. With rare forethought, because the exchange rate is excellent, little by little, I had put aside a small stockpile of pesos toward next year’s rent. Plenty for two weeks.  

            Sure enough, about the 12th of May, Dee Dee called me. Mom, your credit card arrived. Because of our work schedules and because UPS in Glendive is only open 4:30 to 5:30 for shipments, Chris won’t be able to send the card until Friday.

            Chris is a trooper. He sent my packet out Friday the 15th. I figured it should arrive Wednesday. But just in case, on Tuesday, the 19th of May, I submitted to voluntary house arrest. I didn’t want to miss the Brown Truck.  All week I skipped walking. I cancelled my weekly trip to my favorite market. For necessities, I walked to my local fruteria, up the street, around the corner, after 6:00.

            Monday, the following week, no Brown Truck arrived. (You might wonder why I didn’t track my shipment. In a fit of weekend housecleaning, my daughter inadvertently tossed the receipt.) By Tuesday I felt a hint of depression. Wednesday brought flutters of panic. Thursday, panic and despair and poverty. Two weeks in transit? How can this be? I was a mess.     

It gets worse. Friday, I was unfit for man or beast to be around. Chris, bless his heart went to UPS, told my sob story, got the tracking number.

            You will think I made this up. May 15th my packet left Glendive. On the 16th it went to Bismarck, Dickinson and back to Glendive, homesick already.  After a rest, on the 18 it went to Billings. Tough trip over the pass. Another rest. On the 20th it went to Casper, Wyoming and Commerce City, Colorado.  Remember, severe storms across the plains at that time.

            On the 21st it reached Vernon, Texas, by rowboat for all I know. It bounced around Texas a while, whooshed through the clearing agency in Fort Worth, passed to Mesquite and San Antonio, dodging tornados and sloshing through floodwaters, arrived in Laredo the 26th.

            The shipment waded crossed the border to Columbia, Mexico the 27th. Remember, at each stop, UPS picked up more goods heading south. On the map Columbia looks pretty small, so it was probably in Monterrey that the customs officials gave the huge shipment the stink eye and decided to inspect every piece before releasing it. Probably over coffee and donuts. On the 29th, I was assured that my card had sailed through San Luis Potosi and on to Guadalajara. I was promised my card would reach Mazatlan and my quivering hand June 1.

            Well, I wasn’t going to hold my breath. But sure enough, Monday morning that familiar Brown Truck stopped in the street outside my door. I could feel my shoulders drop from my ears down to where they are supposed to be, loose and relaxed.

My envelope marked “Extremely Urgent”, opened and taped shut on two ends, had signed up for a seventeen day tour with sixteen stops.       
Sondra Ashton
HDN: Looking out my back door

June 4, 2015  

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