Jim Terry
May 11, 2010
He was right, for once
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By Jim Terry

A few days ago I returned from an almost two week road trip across the United States. It was not a Travels With Charley voyage, but I observed several things along the way about our great country.

Our son-in-law invited me and my wife to travel with him and our three year old grand daughter to Columbus, Ohio where he would attend an alumni meeting at his law school, and then on to Watkins Glen, New York to visit his father who is the head chef and restaurant manager in a magnificent hotel on Seneca Lake.

Watkins Glen is a magical place for me. From 1948 to 1952, races were run on a 6.6 mile road course which started on Franklin Street, The Glen's main street, in front of the Schuyler County Courthouse, and wound through the hilly and beautiful countryside back into town through the last turn named Milliken's Corner onto Franklin for the approximately twelve block straightaway.

In the late 1950s, as I approached the first important age plateau in a boys life, at least in his own mind, when dad would take him to the department of public safety office for a drivers license on his sixteenth birthday, and hope to pass the driving test-parallel parking was usually the killer- I began to dream of sports cars.

I read everything I could find on auto racing; bought sports car magazines and sprinkled them about the house. I wrote papers in my English classes about the old days of auto racing, of Nuvolari, Fagioli, von Brauchitsch Auto-Union, Mille Miglia, Le Mans.

The opportunity to spend a few days in Watkins Glen and perhaps breathe in some history was a powerful motive to take the long road trip, not to mention two weeks on the road with our three year old NattyNic.

Since this was a somewhat last minute trip, I began to wrap up some pending matters and it occurred to me that we would need to have the mail temporarily forwarded to our daughter's home for the two week absence.

I went to the USPS internet web site to begin the process of temporarily forwarding our mail. Step by step I filled out the form until I came to the page requesting my credit card number. The post office doesn't charge a fee for forwarding mail, but the page states the following:

    For your security, please verify your identity using a credit card or debit card. We'll need to charge your card $1.00.

    To prevent fraud, we need to verify your identity by charging your card a $1.00 fee. The card's billing address must match your current address or the address you're moving to.

The post office is the last place I want to have my credit card number. I cancelled the I-net change of address process and decided to go to my local post office and turn in a temporary change of address.

I worked for the post office in the 1960s as a letter carrier and as a mail clerk. In those days if a patron wished his mail stopped or forwarded he went to the post office and filled out a small pink card, or usually his carrier had these cards, which went to the carrier and the next day his mail was stopped or forwarded.

When I told the clerk at my local post office I wanted my mail temporarily forwarded for two weeks, she looked at me with a wrinkled brow. "You want your mail forwarded for two weeks? When do want it to start?"

When I told her I wanted the service to begin the next day, her wrinkled brow turned flat and she had no expression on her face, and as she clutched a large envelope, thrusting in my direction, she informed me, "It takes seven to ten days for the change to get into our computer system." Now I recognized the face of a government bureaucrat with authority.

In August of 2009, our president said the following, "UPS and FedEx are doing just fine. It's the Post Office that's always having problems." I remembered his statement and those words began ringing in my head.

I don't agree with much of what the president says. Actually, up to this point, I hadn't agreed with anything he has ever said. But at that moment, remembering that statement, I was his number one booster. I gave him a silent cheer as I turned to leave and told the clerk, "There is nothing the post office can do for me today."

Next time: We hit the road.

© Jim Terry

 

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Jim Terry

Jim Terry has worked in Republican grassroots politics for 40 years. Terry was an administrative assistant to a Republican elected official in Dallas for twenty years. In 1996, he ran for and was elected to Justice Court 2 in Dallas County where he served eight years. Contact Jim at tr4guy62@yahoo.com

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