A Perfect Small-Town Day

Today was one of those perfect small-town days you see in romantic movies, old television shows, or sentimental paintings. To start off, the weather was perfect — sunny, deep blue skies, the air cool enough to require a light jacket, and best of all, no wind.

Although I’ve been lazy lately, apparently I decided this was the day to package up a couple of gifts to mail. To that end, I took a walk to the post office to pick up a couple of flat-rate boxes, then came home and started wrapping and packing.

This took the better part of the day’s middle because I had to drag out all the paraphernalia — tape, scissors, wrapping paper, package fill, etc. Oddly, for a person who doesn’t really celebrate Christmas except for sending a couple of gifts when finances allow, I have a LOT of Christmas stuff.

To start off, I have two small trees and two tiny trees —- one small tree was a gift when I was laid up with my almost-destroyed arm, another was a gift to my father that I ended up keeping. One tiny tree was supposed to be a gift that somehow didn’t work out, and one was a recent gift from a local craftsy friend. (Craftsy because to use “crafty” connotes something other than I wanted to say.) Then I have wreaths — one that started off as a hat decoration, and another I made at an Art Guild meeting last year. (Yes, I do have a red wall! Not my choice since it was here when I came, but I’ve come to appreciate it.)

I also somehow ended up with a small snowman collection, as well as boxes of ornaments and bowls of lights. So, lots of Christmas stuff strewn around!

I kind of digressed for a minute, but now back to my story. I did get the packages ready in plenty of time to get to the post office in case it was keeping shorter hours. (Because of The Bob, we’re on “red” alert, whatever that means.)

As I was getting the packages out of the car, the husband of a friend I used to play dominoes with came down the post office stairs. I said hello and asked after his wife. A fellow of few words, he simply opened the passenger door of his vehicle. And there his wife was. It’s a shame this isn’t a hugging time (and it would have been awkward because of her being in the car), but it was truly good to see her.

After they left, I gathered up my packages and climbed the stairs into the post office. (Yes! I was actually able to climb the stairs!) There was only one woman waiting, the person I most wanted to see. One of my first and dearest new friends. Her being there helped keep me from gagging when the clerk added up the postage. (It seems only last year the flat rate price for priority mail was $2.50, but apparently, that “last year” was a few decades ago.)

We chatted until both of us completed our business. (She’s been waiting for a package for a couple of weeks now that seems to be stalled in Denver, and I told her the last package I got from the eastern part of the country was stalled in Denver for three weeks, so not to worry. Then the postmaster came out with her tracking information, and told her the same thing. Denver seems to hate us out here.)

While continuing to talk outside, we happened to notice a mutual friend — another of those dearest friends. So we chatted with her, met her new great-grandbaby (at a suitable distance of course) and then we all went our separate ways.

My way took me to the grocery store where I encountered a neighbor, and even better, I got one of the friendly checkout clerks.

Truly a perfect small-town day.

Even coming home to a mess (the first time I actually left a mess behind when I headed out to run errands) didn’t present a problem. In fact, it helped solidify the perfection as I puttered around putting things away. I still have a mess because all those Christmas decorations are piled up in the living room, but that will be sorted out in the next couple of days.


If you haven’t yet read A Spark of Heavenly Fire, my novel of a quarantine that predated this pandemic by more than ten years, you can read the first chapter online here: http://patbertram.com/A_Spark_of_Heavenly_Fire.html

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