What your mailbox (and lawn art) say to me

Rain or shine, freezing cold or burning hot, I try to take Sweet Dog and E for a walk every day. It doesn't always happen, but maybe five days out of the week we make a loop in our neighborhood specifically chosen for it's relative lack of scary backyard dogs.

I got lost a bunch of times walking in our neighborhood when we first moved here, sometimes choosing streets full of fenced-in dogs who were SURE we were intent on invading their homes to carve out their owners' hearts with E's sippy cup lid. Now that I've got my perfect loop, I stick to it.

The things I noticed first were the mailboxes. Everyone in our neighborhood has one, right beside their driveway, out at the curb.


(Isn't that what they're saying? Or is this is what happens to your brain when you've lived in urban California for too long? It took about three months of me running out to retrieve the mail as soon as it was delivered to realize that even if I left it there for a few hours, or even several days, NOTHING WOULD HAPPEN TO IT. Except maybe your kindly neighbor would take it in for you and bring it you with a plate of home-made cookies.)

Most of the mailboxes in our neighborhood are run-of-the-mill black ones.

A basic mailbox: white post, black mailbox, red flag.
(Weeds around base, optional or, in our case, inevitable.)

Some neighbors change their mailbox sleeves to match each upcoming holiday. You know which neighbor is going through a hard time when you see a snowmen mailbox sleeve in June. (Urban friends: Yes, they make decorator sleeves for mailboxes. I KNOW, crazy, right?)

There are a few favorite mailboxes on my route that always call out to me and now they feel like old friends with whom I can converse.

(Okay, yes, I could use a few more friends here.)

This one reminds me of my grandparents' old airstream trailer, which my toddler brother called a "crailer". Hence E greets this one with: "Hi crailer me-box!"

This one calls out to me: "Feel free to rest your Big Gulp Slushie right here!"

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Mailbox.

Top rack dishwasher safe! Caution: may warp and/or acquire stubborn tomato sauce stains with regular use.

Often, there will be a seemingly endless row of plain black mailboxes and then...

Okay, can we talk about this for a minute? Any Southerners out there care to help me understand this one? This "lawn ornament" is out front of a neighbors' house. In case you can't see it well, because I was too polite/chicken-shit to get close enough to take a proper picture so I had to take it from a moving vehicle, this is an African-American lawn jockey. On the lawn of elderly WHITE neighbors. W. T. H. In what universe is this not offensive?

This is the South: Neighbors put racist statues on their lawn, and then bring you your mail with a plate of homemade cookies.


Sarah said...

Ahh! One of our (elderly white) neighbors has that same lawn ornament! Every time we walk by I'm all "...???!" What has to be going through your HEAD when purchasing such a thing? Or for that matter, MANUFACTURING such a thing? How old must those suckers be? I sure haven't seen rows of them sitting out with the other ceramic lawn ornaments at our local nursery anytime recently.

Ann Wyse said...

I loved this post. So funny.

I agree - CRAZY lawn ornament that I don't get at all - some of these old (racist) lawn ornaments are expensive collectibles at this point - I don't get that, either - its a weird, complicated world for me.

Hmmm... maybe your neighbors are worried about their lawn ornament being stolen, thus locating it close to the house. Because, I mean, otherwise, why not put it next to the mailbox and facilitate easier photography and speculation, you know?

Swistle said...

Near us is one of those jockeys, but someone has painted it white. What does that...MEAN? I can't tell if it's better, or worse.

Anonymous said...

Love the one with the holder for the big gulp! Our mail box had a towel rack for a while (okay, it was originally for a small flag but when that disappeared in a wind storm, it stood empty and looked like a towel rack).

clueless but hopeful mama said...

Swistle- I've been fantasizing about painting the lawn jockey in the middle of the night. In my fantasy, I make him a gay rights icon- all rainbow flags and hot pants.

Anonymous- I kinda want a towel rack on mine now! How handy!

miyoko said...

i have to find the photos of me at around age 2, wearing nothing but a diaper riding on the shoulders of my neighbor's lawn jockey. I think i'm remembering this correctly, because I don't think I could make it up.

clueless but hopeful mama said...

So what you're all telling me is that the lawn jockey is NOT exclusively a southern phenomenon. Hmmm... very interesting.

Miyoko- I would LOVE to see that photo! Perhaps I should recreate it?

miyoko said...

yeah the funny thing is i'm almost the same height as him, but i have toddler (thick) proportions in comparison, and the diaper and shoulder (maybe it was a piggy back?) ride-- absurd.

Blog Designed by: NW Designs