© 2022 Lynsey

Courier pigeons

Yesterday I messaged a friend asking if he had a ball-peen hammer I could borrow. He’s the kind of guy who not only knows what a ball-peen hammer is, he has one. Maybe more. Can I say how much I love not having to explain what a ball-peen hammer is?

My friend volunteered to drop the hammer over, and eventually we opted for the contactless delivery option. He left the hammer in our letterbox. We joked about how it was like some neo-noir spy thriller – a leather jacketed man leaving a secret something in a hidden drop-off before riding off on a Royal Enfield motorcycle. Classic. Wellington used to be just such a place.

We rarely get letters these days, so it’s unlikely that the hammer would have to jostle aside letters or even junk mail.

Over the years our letterbox has seen changes to the way New Zealand lives. Seventy years ago the letterbox was made large enough to hold pints of milk. Pint bottles of milk used to be delivered to homes across the country. Our letterbox has a sturdy door to protect the morning milk from sunlight. It’s possible the local grocer and butcher delivered afternoon packages to the house via the letterbox too.

Home milk deliveries gradually ceased and our letterbox saw a time of mail purity. Letters, glorious stamps, sometimes packages, delivered to the mailbox from around the world. My cousin worked in the mail centre out in Petone – he’d sometimes scribble a quick note on my letters. I loved that. It made me feel connected to him and made the delivery more personal. Gradually, the mail dropped by the wayside as email took over. A family of snails moved in as the letterbox became quieter. They munched their way through real estate promo cards, hospital notifications, and a couple of minor political begging letters. Eventually even the junk mail became so sparse the snails moved out. It became quiet in the letterbox. I suspect more than one pigeon checked out the letterbox as a suitable place to build a nest and raise a family.

Now we’re living in the plague years. We’ve spent a couple of years abiding by lockdown and choosing to support small business across NZ by shopping online, leading to more packages in the letterbox. The once-a-day mailman has been replaced by a constant stream of courier drivers. Once large enough for milk bottles, today our letterbox is going through a glorious career renaissance as a safe drop-spot for packages, including supplies delivered from the local butcher. And there’s space for a clandestine hammer delivery.

03. Every day is an opportunity to reflect on the past.
14. Every day the ordinary can be the extraordinary.
39. Every day trust that there is a bigger picture. You are a part of it even if you may not know what it is.

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