This Wednesday, October 10, will make three weeks since I sent that package to Josh in Richmond, Virginia, and he hasn’t gotten it yet. That same week, Calvin sent me a package from Atlanta—Georgia, that is, and I haven’t gotten it yet. I’d like to know what’s going on with the United States Postal Service. That $11.00 I paid was for delivering the package; it was not a charitable donation, or at least I didn’t intend it to be. And did I keep my receipt? Of course not. I trusted the postal service. My mistake.
Whoa. Let me back up and tell you the rest of the story.
A couple of years ago, my son Josh discovered chutney and developed a strong taste for it. Since then, he’s been suggesting that I make him some. (I’ve found that many people in this area don’t know what chutney is, which is not unusual because of its East Indian origins. It is a sauce or relish usually compounded of both sweet and sour ingredients, such as fruits and herbs, with spices and other seasonings, and is most often served with meats or cheeses.) This summer, when the canning streak hit me, I made 3 different kinds—peach, tomato-apple, and plum. I also made him some hot pepper jam using our own Habanero peppers (hotter than most folk can stand, but just right for Josh), some pickled vegetables, and some muscadine jelly. As I worked on the canning, I promised him a care package.
One night he said, “Mom, I went to the store today and bought some cream cheese in anticipation of my hot pepper jam. You think you might send it tomorrow?”
The next day, September 19, I spent an hour carefully packing those home-canned goodies so they wouldn’t break en route. I wrapped each jar with bubble wrap that my sister had provided. When the jars were packed tightly into a sturdy box, I added a rawhide bone for Bentley and taped the whole box with wide sturdy tape. At the post office, the nice man asked me the usual questions.
“Do you want to insure it?”
“Do you want next day delivery?”
“No, the package is too heavy. I don’t have that much money,” I joked, seriously.
“How about delivery confirmation?”
“I don’t think it’s necessary,” I replied. “It’s just a box of goodies for my son. It is fragile though. I’ve packed it well as long as no one uses it for basketball practice.”
After I handed over the $11 dollars he asked for, he stamped the package fragile in several places, and sent it on its way.
Little did I know. I should have asked for insurance and delivery confirmation. Maybe it would be there by now. As it is, I’ve lost all that hard work, all that good food, and my money while Josh’s cream cheese sits alone in his refrigerator. A sadder tale I’ve rarely heard.
So tomorrow I’ll try again. I’ve found another box, and Sarah Nell assures me that she has more bubble wrap. We’ll even round up another bone for Bentley and I’ll pack another round of goodies—pickled okra with hot peppers, the chutneys, the jelly, and whatever else I still have. This time I think I’ll take my chances on UPS.
I’m really perplexed though. On October 2 I ordered a plant from a nursery in North Carolina (the state right up there next to Virginia) and paid $14 for shipping. On Friday, Oct. 5, the smiling Fed Ex man delivered it to my door. He even stopped a minute to play with the dogs.
But as I sit here tonight at the computer, I am packageless. So are Josh and Bentley. I wonder if somewhere out there a dishonest mail person is eating chutney as he listens to the music that Calvin’s package held for me.
I’ve learned a valuable lesson though. IF I ever send another package via the USPS, I’ll insure it and request a delivery confirmation. Obviously I am a slow learner, but I won’t be caught again.