When the Mail Makes You Cry Happy

Elizabeth Bluemle - April 28, 2020

Last Tuesday morning’s postal delivery was possibly the best in the history of the Flying Pig. We’ve been working singly, one staffer at the store each day, and while it’s a hectic run, it’s also lonely without the collegiality of coworkers and the friendly faces of customers. It’s also a bit stressful tracking down loose ends, website peculiarities, shipping issues, etc. So to come in that morning, open the mailbox, and find these letters — well, it was winning the lottery of happy.

First up were two thank-you letters from wonderful customers, both of whom have been so supportive of the store during this time. And yet they are the ones deserving of thanks!

It’s hard to articulate how much this thoughtfulness means to us. As I said, the days can feel lonely and the future is uncertain, so these signs that our customers —our neighbors, our community—are thinking of us with affection is everything. It’s as if they’ve sent a giant hug in an envelope.

One envelope contained a check for an order we had fulfilled for a customer donating books to a school. We’d given her our usual school discount, but her check was for the full amount of the order, which she insisted on paying. It was a difference of about $300, and I burst into tears.

Then there was the joyful note from a child customer we absolutely adore, a fresh-faced, open-hearted nine- or ten-year-old who loooooooves books.

Finally, there were two puffy envelopes from writer pals who had seen my question on Facebook asking for people’s favorite sources to buy cloth masks. Both are crafty sorts, and sent me these beauties they’d made! Jen Sattler, who made the white one, would have you know that I am wearing it upside down in this photo. (I took the pic immediately after opening the package; I did quickly figure out that the bendy wire under my chin was meant for my nose. And there’s a pocket for a coffee or other filter built in!) And JoAnn Early Macken made the happy floral mask, which is reversible, and the other side is a pattern I swear I had sheets in as a preteen! It seemed like a sign.

I doubt there will ever be another day that brings as much spiritual (and material, come to think of it) joy in the mail as this. I will cling to it, especially as I am currently pleading with the postal service to honor the $400 insurance I paid for on a $600 order of autographed books lost between New Jersey and California last month, and waiting for our PPP to come through.

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