Saturday, July 07, 2012

“Mailbox Contest”

c. 2012 Rod Ice
All rights reserved

“For all the challenges the Postal Service of the 21st century faces, it still retains its traditional place as a key cog in how American businesses conduct their affairs and how Americans all across this land communicate.” – John M. McHugh

A recent visit to the ‘Thoughts At Large’ mailbox in Chardon produced mixed emotions for this writer. While considering the meager volume of material that waited for my key, I thought about the struggling state of our national postal system.

Gloomy reports about debt and declining mail volume had echoed for many months. Now, there was talk of closing rural offices and reducing weekly deliveries. Yet I continued to feel the same undeniable bond with this service that has existed for most Americans since antiquity.

In yonder days, my mailbox was blessed with letters, cards, congratulations, complaints, publisher offers, obscure magazines and suggestions for future writing projects. But the rise of e-mail and text communication had slowed this stream of tangible, printed matter to a paper trickle.

I couldn’t help missing the kind of hold-in-your-hand messages and manuscripts that had flowed into my mail slot for so long.

Standing silently before door number 365, one question lingered.

What could I do to help?

The answer came from a discarded ad that had been dropped on the floor. It boasted colorfully about prizes to be awarded in a flashy, future drawing:

“Publisher’s Clearing House – It’s all about winning! We make Millionaires. In fact, we've been giving money away since Jimi Hendrix played the National Anthem at Woodstock! People just like you have won up to $21,000,000.00 entering our sweepstakes. Meet some of our Millionaires and imagine what it would be like to be them. Entering the PCH Sweepstakes changed their lives forever -- IT COULD CHANGE YOURS, TOO!!”

Suddenly, the solution was obvious. I could create my own Geauga County contest, to attract entries to the TAL mailbox, and help the post office thrive. As I drove back to Thompson, this personal ‘postal stimulus plan’ began to take shape:


Take pride in America. Help save the U.S. Postal Service in Geauga County – by helping yourself to fun and prizes!

Put away your computer. Set aside your cell phone. Take out your sharpest pencil or fullest pen – and write to P.O. Box 365, Chardon, Ohio 44024.

Dig out your grandfather’s typewriter and tap out a terrific toast to those who take time to transport our daily mail.

Send your cantankerous comments, silly suggestions and pithy proclamations to P.O. Box 365, Chardon, Ohio.

Do you have an old news clipping about the county? A photo of the courthouse or other noted Geauga landmark? A family story worth telling in the Maple Leaf?

Send it, today!

Do you remember a thrilling local sports competition from fifty years ago?

Send it to P.O. Box 365.

Do you have a UFO story, ghost tale, or bologna recipe?

Send it, now!

Have you been hounded by black helicopters, wiretapped, videotaped or pursued by the FBI?

Send your story without delay!

Did you work at a local supermarket, department store, or gas station in the distant past?

Send your memories to P.O. Box 365. You may be a winner!

Do you know a local celebrity like Paula ‘The Christmas Tree Lady’ Horbay? Or author and instructor Grace Butcher?

Send your reminiscences about them to my address!

Were you a radio broadcaster in the county? Or a journalist at one of the many lost newspapers that once thrived in Geauga?

Send your best recollections today!

Do you have a faded ad from Kresse’s Bi-Rite? Or Fisher’s Big Wheel? Maybe a yellowed copy of the Geauga Times Leader? Or the Weekly Mail?

Send it now!

Have you had a spiritual vision on the Chardon Square or at another familiar local venue? Are you a member of a little-known political party? Do you cultivate flowers to relieve everyday stress? Are you a musician, poet, author, sculptor or painter?

Remember the address - Thoughts At Large, P.O. Box 365, Chardon, Ohio 44024.

Entries will be judged solely by this writer. Prizes will be awarded after Labor Day, 2012.

First Prize – An autographed copy of the “Thoughts At Large” book.
Second Prize – An original document copy of this column, signed by myself.
Third Prize - An autographed copy of the Geauga County Maple Leaf newspaper.

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