Art in Small Packages (ms)

I go up to my local post office about once a week to check on any business mail I might have. As you might guess I don’t get much mail along those lines and I probably could go once a month and not miss anything. Well, I would miss looking at the stamps.

A new supply of stamps comes in about once a month but I never know when so my weekly trips give me a chance to check if the shipment arrived.

If it has, the clerk on duty is good enough to show me the latest pieces. I frequently buy a sheet or two of those I like most. I don’t save them though I once did collect stamps; I use them for I like to share the wealth.

Stamps used to be rather boring, to tell the truth; pictures of famous men, some historic moments, some locations of national value but not much beyond that. They were good engravings I thought but lacked, well, showmanship I guess is the best word. They seemed bland and I guess that is one of the reasons I gave up collecting. The other major one was that most of my collection of unused stamps, with the glue still on the back, somehow ended up in a basement where the moisture in the air was rather high. No one checked, the glue worked and that was that.

So far as mailing is concerned I guess I go with the rest of the country in that I don’t do as much as I once did. I still send cards and I pay a few bills that way but much of my communication and bill paying is done on the Web. So convenient and handy the Web but I do like stamps.

I like them because they are really miniature works of art produced by some of the best artists and engravers. I admire them immensely and frankly almost hate to use them for when they are gone I no longer can look at them.

On the other hand using them is a good thing for it contributes at least a tiny fraction to the postal service which deserves it. My mail comes six days a week (maybe five soon) and it still costs less than a half dollar to send a letter to Alaska or Hawaii and that’s a good bargain. I also like to allow others to see these little beauties and sending stamps off to places around the country does that. I like to think a stamp celebrating Jazz in America might brighten someone’s day. Maybe the one honoring Mark Twain could remind a person of stories read in the front room on a cold winters night. Lots of possibilities.

So, who knows, maybe soon we’ll see more changes in the mail and in a way that will be sad for tradition and custom are good things and knowing the mail would be there every day was comforting. I can only hope  it will be deemed necessary to keep those little works of art called stamps around.

–Mike Stevens

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~ by admin on August 16, 2011.

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