A wayward jar … Bill said it was a warm day when we had our June phone visit from across the water.

A wayward jar …

Bill said it was a warm day when we had our June phone visit from across the water.

He and Maude had spread their Dublin wit and wisdom ‘around the centre of Canada’s universe,’ among relatives and shopkeepers in mid-May.

“I was surprised to find it. My man in the Yukon would like that, I thought; indeed he would, and so I got it.”

Bill has many kind thoughts, that’s his way. It was a jar of Ireland’s premier libation. A jar soon wrapped tightly in blue bubble wrap, disguised as cleverly as those lasses who dry in the hot sun after wearing jeans in the tub, plopped on the counter of the post office in The Bay. 

“I was bringing one then-remembered security,” he continued. “You know them. It’s like trying to put a marshmallow into a piggy bank to bring a jar on an airplane today. So are you toasting that long summer light of June?” he asked. 

The conversation seemed convoluted to say the least. “Sorry, you’ve lost me!”

“You’ve not received a parcel? No? Aye, and he was such a nice man, at The Bay’s post office he was, telling me the postal code was all wrong. There’s no postal codes like that in Canada, then promised me, I’ll be looking it up, and fixin’ it for you … So you’re telling me his promise ended in the waste bin like a politician’s promise?”

Ah, Herodotus, wherefore art thou?

Herodotus of Halicarnassus, ancient Greek historian, (484B.C. – 425 B.C.),  gets full credit for the postal creed the postal folk follow. “Neither rain, nor hail, nor sleet, nor snow, nor heat of day nor dark of night shall keep this carrier from the swift completion of his appointed rounds.”

Ah, and there we were mid-summer, and disillusioned, they’d not delivered. Well, the swans had come and gone, the fireweed was colouring the land, the world was unfolding as promised by Pierre, but a gift from Bill and Maude had gone astray. A gift guaranteed to last until their next visit.

Bushmill’s Irish Single Malt is allowed out of the cupboard exclusively for special toasts to special people at special times. He’d started it on its way, ran into a false promise, and poof, it’s disappeared.

It’s gone, vanished, mislaid, gone astray, lost in the postal wilderness, vamoosed, expired, extinguished, departed, taken wing, nowhere to be found. Languishing in an ‘undeliverable bin’ with other lost bits and pieces somewhere south of 60, or swallowed, perhaps, by one of bureaucracy’s black holes.

With it went my faith in a creed my postal-working father had worked and lived by, a creed he’d drilled into us, and one I’d only discovered, thanks to Herodotus, that is older than Christianity itself.

Herodotus also observed that: “As the old saw says well: every end does not appear together with its beginning.”

Indeed not! We’d had the rain, the hail, the sleet, the snow and were well into winter’s long dark of night, when a man knocked on the door, bubble wrapped jar in hand.  “For you,” he said and left.

The jar had spent the summer wandering in the land of wrong postal codes, alone, uncared for, unappreciated, perhaps, before wending its way west into the hands of an Albertan: an Edmontonian apparently who knew, and behold it was sent to the land of the midnight sun, though the sun shone not upon it. It was November, late November.

The jar was older, so were its sender and recipient, ostensibly all better and wiser for the experience, definitely impressed.

With so many betrayals of the public trust coming forth about many segments of our public service it is a delight to discover not all are practising old Napoleon’s bureaucratic caper: He told his secretary to leave all letters unopened for three weeks before opening them. He happily discovered a large part of the correspondence disposed of itself, requiring no answer, or action at all, at all! Good Lord, is that when it began?

Well, we’ve got one bunch we can point to and say they’re living up to a 2,000-year-old creed to the best of their ability, and delivering the goods, and that’s really something.

A tip of the hat to the guys and gals of the postal service and a special tip of the hat to those who cared so well for our wayward jar, and a toast of the good stuff to you all, and of course another to Dublin’s Maude and Bill. We hope we can put the shoe on the other foot one day.

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