Go Big or Go Home


Cognitive Dissonance


I just installed a brand spanking new mailbox here at the homestead, the type and size you often find planted in front of working farms around these parts. You know, of a size sufficient enough to accept delivery of a small cow or a medium pig.

The new mailbox is big, black and very beautiful, with a bright red flip up flag and the classic domed top to allow precipitation, frozen or not, to roll right off the poor cow or pig stuffed inside. There’s nothing worse than a wet cow. Dry, on the other hand, is much better. Besides, you can’t return a water damaged cow. I’ve checked and it’s a no go.

It’s not like our old mailbox was blown away in the frequent 60 MPH plus winds up here or knocked clear into another universe by a sadistic snow plow driver. Or even battered to hell and back again by a car load of teenage boys wielding baseball bats.

Nope, the old mailbox was perfectly serviceable and of no immediate need to be removed from its proud perch in front of our log cabin. It was an older Rubbermaid plastic model from the 90’s. And while severely faded from black to a dull gray, it still worked quite well, keeping both the incoming and outgoing mail dry and intact.

In fact, I offered Old Yeller to the postman in case he knew of some needy less fortunate soul with a battered box and no funds for its replacement. My random act of kindness was met with a ten minute postman rant about every contraception imaginable, and a few totally unimaginable, that people place in front of their homes and which they expect the postman to deposit mail in.

He really did have several funny stories to tell. And he was downright excited to be the first to use Big Bertha. He even patted it on the side before roaring on down our dirt road.

Unfortunately our old mailbox was not sufficiently sized to accept delivery of a small cow or a medium pig. Nor capable of accepting an outgoing package containing our large Maine Coon cat, the threat of deportation we regularly administer to Tramp after another late night escapade bringing in birds, mice, rabbits or whatever else happened to trespass his domain when he’s out and about.

For some reason he thinks the whole affair hilarious and doesn’t take our threats of eviction seriously. Well, NOW we mean business.

I haven’t bought a mailbox in decades, perhaps even centuries if you count my past lives. And mostly certainly not during the internet age where, with just a few clicks of the mouse (not the one Tramp dragged in last week) the world of custom mailboxes is arrayed across my monitor.

Wow! Just wow.

Do you know you could pay more for a ‘custom’ mailbox than you would for a small cow or medium pig? I didn’t either until the other day. But you can, and judging by the vast selection found across a dozen or more websites, business is booming. Who knew there were so many people with so much money and so few brains?

There was one mailbox so large anything loaded inside would need a forklift to remove. That probably explains the one about the farmer who welded up a 55 gallon oil drum with a stainless steel door and red underwear on a stick masquerading as a flag.

The mailman said he refuses to touch the red underwear on principle, even if the owner swears to Gold Almighty it’s washed on a weekly basis.

But I digress.

It’s not as if we actually want to take delivery of various large or medium farm animals, at least not in our mailbox. But of late we have found ourselves with packages to post on a near daily basis and a mailbox that simply wouldn’t accommodate. It gets real old real quick waiting for the postman’s dirt cloud on the horizon signaling his imminent arrival, then drop whatever we’re doing to make a mad dash out the door and to the box in time to intercept Speedy Gonzales on his appointed rounds.

I’ve never understood how he can drive so fast while sitting on the wrong side of the car, accelerating and braking with his left foot while steering with his left hand, and not knock down a few mailboxes or run over a few chickens or pigs. Clearly it’s an art and not a science.

Mrs. Cog and I actually bought Big Bertha several weeks ago while out shopping for grub and garb. The big box hardware store had about a dozen in stock of various sizes, shapes and colors for us to choose from. There was even a designer box we could have blown $150 on if we had wanted. But it was immediately evident either we went big or we went home because other than Big Bertha, nothing in stock would even begin to swallow our Coon Cat.

Nor our daily packages for that matter.

It quickly became obvious major surgery was required of the old wooden mailbox and flagpole support system if Big Bertha was to take the place of Old Yeller out front. I promptly got to work thinking about it.

Two weeks later I had a new mailbox base cut and painted (the 11” x 24” base gives you a good idea how big this mailbox is) and was ready to begin cutting.

Did I mention how much I love my cordless power tools?

Long story short, the transplant was a success and the cat is being packed up as I type, claws and all.


Cognitive Dissonance



Old Yeller at the bottom flagging in the postman one last time.

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