Search This Blog

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Up to No Good in the Valley…

vandals afoot This morning there was a lull in the string of  recent storms that have been stepping on each other’s heels as they rolled through the Valley. A good time for Gladys and me to get some some air and exercise, head outside and blow some of the winter funk off us.

Gladys protests a little this morning: those extra pounds I’ve added over the holidays make her groan a bit more than usual. We turn the corner by Van Hulles’ and head down the straight stretch where I swerve to avoid a piece of plastic in the road. The flap to a mailbox. I ride on by Bert Frohning’s mailbox and notice its door is missing. missing a mailbox On ahead Tony Broer slowly crosses the road to check his mail. Instead of collecting it or picking up the paper and heading back to the house, he stands there fussing over his mailbox. As I ride up on him, I notice the box is crushed on one side and dangles upside down from its moorings. “Not the best way to start the New Year,” I tell him. Tony just flashes that easy-going smile as if to say, “If this is the worst thing that happens today, it’ll be a good day.” Now if Tony’s box were mine, a smile would be the last thing to twitch my lips. I’ve had mailbox issues in the past and found nothing to smile about there. But my lips twitched plenty, let me tell you. Tony heads back to the porch cradling his wounded mailbox. That mailbox has had a hard life. A half dozen years ago I walked by and found it ripped from the post, lying on the ground, both sides bent askew. That time I carried the victim to the porch.

On down the Valley I notice more mailbox vandalism: Matt Hammerstrom’s mailbox down in the weeds; at the corner a large metal mailbox is dented and another doorless, its plastic flap lies in the road; the mailbox stanchion belonging to the first house off Sargent Road is bare: what sat atop the post lies on its side several feet away.Downed mailbox And Steve Werkhoven’s mailbox also has migrated some distance from its post and lies forlorn in the roadside grass.  I also note two uprooted road signs. Casualties of the recent winds and rain perhaps? But given this morning’s mailbox issues, their collapse seems a bit coincidental to me. Besides, I see fresh tire marks near one of the signs, as well as doughnuts spun in the hayfield across from Swiss Hall. And “Barrell’s For Sale” lies flat on the grass beside Martys’ driveway.

 a pushover

joyridin' tracks


Any kind of vandalism angers me; of the many species of mischief, it seems the most senseless. Mailbox vandalism angers me more: I have been there more than once myself.

When I was a kid, the last thing on my mind as I struggled through the school week was looking forward to Friday night so I could head out in the dark and damage the property of others, property that just sits there stationary while you whale away on it with some sort of club. Although it shames me to admit it, my priorities those high school years had less to do with acquiring the three R’s than they did convincing a comely classmate to share my popcorn at the local movie theatre on Friday night. To this end I would begin Monday morning and connive each school day all week long to secure some female companionship when Friday night rolled around.

Wide open

Now I have a theory about these midnight mailbox terrorists: if you COULD get a date Friday night (or any night, for that matter), I doubt you’d be out bashing defenseless mailboxes, now would you? Monroe has a fine Cineplex. Sure, the popcorn’s a little expensive, but it tastes great and smells even better (and so would a date, by the way). Is it because you’re a pimply-faced, unhygienic hobbledehoy with a pea-sized amygdala? What young lady would want to share your popcorn or halitosis anyway, mailbox basher! Isn’t there some sort of video game you could play if you want to wile away some unproductive time? Doesn’t Microsoft’s Kinect offer some sort of “kinesthetic” release for you in the form of mailbox bashing? You could set up your t.v. screen in the garage, hop in that car Daddy bought you, and baseball bat in hand, without leaving home bash virtual mailboxes to your heart’s content. You game programmers out there: if there’s not a “Violate your Neighbor’s Mailbox” video game on the market, why not create one? There could be real money in it—and you’d be doing us rural route folks a valuable community service!

Here’s some advice for you, thugs of the nighttime: take a bath…and for gosh sake, don’t spare the deodorant, slather on some Clearasil, hose down those teeth (use some of them White Strips, why don’t you!) pull up those sagging pants (put on some clean ones, too, and a nice shirt: your mom didn’t intend to raise a slob—or a vandal either), spiff up that used car with a layer of Turtle Wax, polish those piercings, also, and go get yourself a date for Friday night. Take her to a movie. You could even pay for her ticket, too. And afterwards, if you have a hankering to visit the Valley, leave the baseball bat at home and bring your date instead. There’s a nice, little secluded parking lot right behind Swiss Hall.

Print this post


  1. Excellent post Dad! You had me chuckling there in the end. You may not want to recommend the Swiss Hall parking lot for young courters, or you may just be making for work for your Environmentally Sensitive friend Nancy L, if you get my drift. So, which is worse...smashed mailboxes or senseless graffiti tagging? At any rate, it's obvious we need a few more evening rec centers for our youth, perhaps.

  2. Yes, I've already been cautioned about such welcoming PR from my E-S friend, Nancy L.who suggested I add a post script reminding young "courters" to pick up after themselves should they accept the invitation.