I had originally planned on publishing this story last week. But as they say, life happens. Also, I was tired. No really! I was! After I finished all of what I’m about to tell you, I took a day and did things around the house. A nap was on the list, but so was dishes. Clean forks are nice to have on hand.
Not long ago I was out doing research for one of my projects. While driving through a small town, I passed the local post office. It got me to thinking about postmarks, and how it might be a nice souvenir from places I visit as I go about my travels. People who know me well might tell you, it snowballed from there. And such, a hobby of collecting stamps and postmarks has been born.
But where should I start? Should I drive across Nebraska and get as many postmarks on Highway 2 as I possibly can? While that sounds fun, I thought I’d start with postmarks from every post office in Scotts Bluff County. So that would be Gering, Scottsbluff, Lyman, Mitchell, Morrill, Minatare, Melbeta, and McGrew. To my knowledge, there aren’t post offices in Stegall or Henry.
I had a plan and a set of envelopes. It could have been done in one day, but I figured spreading it over 3 would be easier. Why? I still had simple things like family time and other household things to do, and it being county fair week when I started this, I had an appointment for fun with Mom I had to keep. What would ultimately follow was an adventure that would take me nearly a week (counting the weekend) to complete.
Day one, August 4: Gering and Scottsbluff. These in any circumstance should have been the easiest for me to get, and they were. At the Gering office, I got the stamps for my covers (envelopes), and as a separate part of this hobby, mailed off a request for a postmark from a certain US Navy aircraft carrier that is soon to be decommissioned. Scottsbluff was much the same, I got my postmark and picked up a set of collators stamps (the ‘Inverted Jenny’ commemorative). I then went home as I was hungry, had to let Boone out, and it was about time for post offices to close anyway.
Day two, August 8: Day 2 ended up being the following Monday, as Friday and the weekend became family time. This SHOULD have been a day where I got half of the remaining postmarks. Allow me to again emphasize SHOULD.
Life lesson: God will often give you opportunities to be patient, slow to anger, and also to not sin while angry. Now, while I don’t think what followed occurred due to divine providence, if it were not God strengthening me, I wouldn’t have handled things very well.
I was going to start with the Lyman post office before it closed at noon, then finish up with Morrill and Mitchell and then get lunch. I got to Lyman about 15 minutes before the office closed. Armed with my newly acquired Lyman postmark, I was ready to head up the road. That is when the bottom fell out from under my plan. I got back in the truck, and it wouldn’t start! Uh oh! I had to think about which of my friends wouldn’t have to come all the way from the Twin Cities. I was able to reach a friend of mine from church, who lives close to Lyman. We tried jumpstarting the truck to no avail. This friend, being a farmer, has a truck and trailer, and offered to haul me into the shop (which he didn’t have to do, I was set to call a tow truck). So the next 24 or so hours I was without a working vehicle (my beast being at home with a busted intake manifold). I was able to get an early Tuesday appointment to get the truck looked at, and I ultimately needed a new starter. It happens.
Special thanks to my friend Bill for all your help that day. You’re a livesaver.
Day three, August 10: I finished what I set out to accomplish a couple days earlier, and went and got the Mitchell and Morrill postmarks. I probably should have saved those for a day or two later, as I had an appointment out of town that I ended up being a little tight on time leaving for (made it there, even had time to get that postmark). All in all, a good day.
Day four, August 12: Of the remaining post offices, Melbeta closes at 9:30 in the morning, so I set out for there first. Actually that whole morning getting Melbeta, McGrew, and Minatare went smoothly. I probably could have returned to the office (which is at my house) and began writing this story.
I should try to wrap this up before writers block sets in.
TAKEAWAYS: What kind of skills, interests, or hobbies do you have? Where are your passions? God can give you opportunities to use them. You interact with people, you’ll get a chance. Sometimes those come when things aren’t going well. Sometimes those chances to be Jesus to the world come when you’re standing in line at Walmart.
COMING SOON: While this site has a ‘photos’ page, it may not in its current state for long. I’m either going to keep it as is, and add interesting photos I take every now and then. My other idea is to change it to, or add another gallery, that will have multiple albums of photos from the stories. I figure I can’t put them ALL in the story, but still want to put them out there.