Barbara Parent: Securely Taped Sacred Package

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My thoughts Monday after reading, “Congress can help the Postal Service” on the Opinion page of the Record-Journal, drifted back a few summers to the postal clerk in the Fort Kent Mills Post Office.


Without my asking, he set me on the right path when I approached the counter with an envelope I had chosen from the rack in the lobby on my way in.

Fort Kent Mills is an unincorporated village in the town of Fort Kent Maine.

Seems the envelope I brought him to weigh and send out to our daughter, Laura, at her home in Wellington, Florida, was a more expensive mailing of the two soft cover books.

He replaced the envelope, which I hadn’t addressed or sealed, with a more appropriate one and said the postage would be at the book rate, and cost less than if the books went out in my original choice.

A few weeks ago I took a manilla envelope left from an Amazon delivery to a post office closer to home to have weighed and sent to Laura in Wellington. I secured the contents with two strips of tape across the flap on the opening of the envelope.

I have berated myself since. I should have stapled the closing, I should have used a different type of tape, I should have done this, I should have done that, I should have..., after our son-in-law sent a text a week later with a picture of the envelope that arrived in their mailbox inside a clear wrap.

The enclosed note read:

WE CARE. Dear Postal Customer: We sincerely regret the damage to your mail during delivery by the Postal Service. We hope this incident did not inconvenience you. Your mail is important to you and you have every right to expect it to be delivered in good condition...and on and on to more apologies and the website to file an insurance claim.

My immediate reaction sent me straight to the post office I mailed the packet from. Did I expect I would be assisted? Would they somehow track the route of the package and find the missing contents? I was too distraught to comprehend the disinterest I encountered. File an insurance claim was the unconcerned answer.

“No,” they would not be of assistance the postal clerk said in a matter-of-fact tone and rattled off the website.

A $50 insurance claim? It could be $100,000, I told her in a loud voice breaking and obviously no concern of hers for the significance of the contents.

My packet obviously was just one of so many that have been met with what we read is a shortage of postal workers, coupled with sloppiness, slow delivery or no delivery at all. Damage or no contents delivered at all was the case when an empty manilla envelope inside a clear wrap placed in a Wellington mailbox. Whatever the excuses, so be it. Yet I wonder why the envelope continued empty along its four day and multiple stops I tracked after returning home.

Forty-four years ago, a color picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in a simple 5x7 cardboard frame came to our house when our family was dealing with a life-threatening diagnosis. I don’t know where the picture originated but a Catholic faith since childhood runs deep and that comes with a strong sense of hope that is unquestionable. The picture accompanied a very sick little girl in every hospital room. I’ve held it close all these years never once losing its significance and so put it into the manilla envelope with the bubble wrap to send to Wellington.

That it arrived empty at its destination was visible through the clear wrap, intact except for the tape I thought would be secure, one strip on the open flap, the other on the envelope.

I remember the clerk in Fort Kent Mills Post Office. Instinctively know the envelope would have arrived in Wellington, securely retaped by him before it left his care.

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