15 December 2011 The mailbox in the middle of the road, and other wonders of civilized life in the mountains of N.E. TN
Today, in addition to being Thursday, and thus trash pickup morning, is also the Ides of December. So in order to have the trash at the pickup point and to gird myself for the morning hike with Mike, I arose at 0630. I put Loki on lead, grabbed my touring pole, and headed for the road, dragging the trashcan behind me.
There seemed to be some unusual item visible in the dim morning light. I turned my headlamp on and discovered that the object was our mailbox. I dragged the trash across the road and immediately had to start pulling Loki into position, as she wanted to mark that entire stretch of ground that other dogs have already marked. The mailbox was next; I dragged it into the driveway and looked for the doors that were no longer in place. The newspaper was left in the driveway by the carrier who had no other place to leave it. Fortunately, the wind dropped enough that the paper stayed intact and in place long enough for me to retrieve it.
My first thought was that the mailbox fell secondary to age and decay. The wooden 4x4 was unevenly damaged. When I couldn’t find the doors, it became apparent that vandals had visited.
Our neighbor, Darryl, reported other damage down valley. Mike and I noticed several mailboxes that had been damaged. The most damage occurred when the vandals hit a large trashcan and split it entirely from top to bottom, hurling trash everywhere. There was broken auto glass at that location and more of it at our driveway. I think our damage happened first and the follow-on happened as the culprits drove down valley. DUI is a safe assumption as the skid and braking marks seem to indicate control problems.
Our mailbox will need to be reset with a new 4x4 post and concrete for stability. Currently, I have it jerry rigged pending a trip into town. I found to engineer stakes pounded them in, and lashed the mailbox to them. It’s poorly done, temporary at best, and unsatisfactory. However, unless the vandals return, it will stand for several days. One door was retrieved from our driveway. The other door was at the bottom of a 20-foot deep ditch that borders the road, the old creek bed. The banks are steep, unstable, and the bottom filled with foot traps and other leg-damaging bits of trees and rocks. Getting down to the bottom and back up again was sufficient vertical loss and gain today beyond the hike with Mike.
Therefore, we called the Sheriff’s office, filed a report, pointed out the broken glass, and figured the rest of the day would pass in relative quiet.
An alert from our bank notified us that one of our credit cards had been counterfeited and used for several high dollar purchases this morning. Fortunately, the bank picked up the irregularities. We’re not out anything and they’ll send us new cards for a new account. But the fact is that we just underwent an attempted robbery, and the unease is very real and very discomforting. The list of people I’d happily escort up the long ladder and down the short rope has grown by an indeterminate number.
I guess I’ll go into Greeneville tomorrow, to buy the material to make permanent mailbox repairs. Or, I may go yet today and save the travel time for work time tomorrow.