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Return To Sender
by Michael Gafford

As the dirt fell around the casket, the young boy was startled by the gentle touch on his shoulder and turned to see a smiling yet unfamilar face.

"Can I talk to you, son?"

"Sure, I guess."

      "Did you know this man?"

      "Yes sir, he was, or is, my grandfather. Why do you ask?"

      "I would like to tell you a story if you have a few moments."

      "I guess; let me ask Mom and Dad. Who are you?"

      "Oh, they know me."

      A few minutes later the boy returned and the story went something like this.

      "Son, I was in my office at the post office a month ago today, I believe. I'll never forget that day. Your grandfather came into my office, needing some help. He asked me if this was the place that one goes when they move and want to get their mail forwarded. I assured him it was and gave him a form and told him to give it to anyone behind the counter, and I returned to my work. A few minutes later I looked up and saw your grandfather at my office door."

      "I'm having a hard time with this; is there anyone that can help me with it?"

      "Be glad to help. Have a seat. Your name?" -- and your grandfather gave me his name.

      "Your address?"

      "Well, I get my mail out on the rural route."

      "Your new address?"

      "That is where it becomes a little tricky. You see I don't know the address. I met up with a carpenter a while back and we hitched up. He promised to build me a house and I feel that it should be about ready."

      "I know what you are saying. It seems that anytime a new subdivision goes up that the last thing to go up are the street signs and house numbers. So just tell me how to get there."

      "Well, you take the Calvary road heading east out of town. Before you get too far you will come to a low spot in the road called 'Depression Valley'. But keep on going, you will soon come up a rise; there's a lot of good people along this road. Now, be careful, the road forks somes and it's easy to get off it. If you take the wrong fork, you will know it. Just turn around and get back on it. There will be signs along the way, plus he has a fellow to help with which way to go. Soon you'll come to a mountain called 'Renewal Mountain'-- a great place to rest -- but don't forget about my mail. A little farther to go yet, not sure how far though, just stay on that road. Just past the last sunset you will come to a large chasm, but there's a strong sure bridge that you can trust. I'll meet you there. Oh, I'll be back if you just want to hold it. My friend is planning on coming back and I will come with him. I hope that you come and if you do, be sure to stay on that road. Some people say that the road used to be there but no more. Well I know it is. Well, that is all the information I have; is it enough."

      "Plenty!" I replied.

      And with that the postmaster handed me a stack of letters and said, "See that your grandfather gets these". . . and left.


      Michael Gafford writes to USADEEPSOUTH:
      "As my uncle refers to a birth of a calf as a cow finding a calf, Mom and Dad were living in Memphis but visiting back home in Union County, Mississippi, when they 'found' me that cold December day in 1952. I was raised in Memphis, graduating from Memphis State University (BA 1977). I worked in the security field before recently retiring. I presently live in southern New Jersey and return home as often as possible."

      The sweet story above was written about Gafford's grandfather.

Read another of Mike Gafford's stories at USADS:
Christmas Journey - 1964

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