Letters from Dee Grammer

Posted on June 10, 2010


I have a big black mailbox across the road.  It is attached to a sturdy post buried deep in the sandy soil and anchored in concrete.  All of this for a few bills and flyers–and surprises that occasionally appear.  Most of the surprises are delightful.  Recently, however, the mailbox became infested with teeny tiny black ants.  I didn’t worry about it much, as I thought they would go away when they discovered that there was no food in the mailbox.  That’s what I’d do.  Then I discovered a terrible thing.  They were bringing food into the mailbox.  They had decided that my mailbox was the perfect place for their nest, and they were stocking the pantry.  GACK!!!!

I did not take photos of this part.  It was loathsome, and I was busy trying to evict the squatters. 

First I washed the whole thing, sluicing the soapy water away with pitcher after pitcher of hot water.  Thousands of ants drowned.  OK, hundreds.  Lots.  The next day there were more ants.  Clearly sterner measures were called for.  I googled murdering ants humanely and found many, many remedies that did not involve poisons, or at least did not involve things that would be poisonous to me.  I settled on scouring powder.  I think the websites meant the powdered form, but all I had was the slurry form that is Soft Scrub.  I squirted it liberally into every corner of the mailbox, letting it flow down into the seams.  I scoured the outside of the box with it.  I glopped it onto the sturdy post to discourage more ants from climbing up. 

The ants hated it.  They fled.  They died.  They turned around and scurried back down the post.  But I thought it might be a good idea to leave the death-dealing Soft Scrub in place for a day or two. 

I looked at the mess.  What would Dee Grammer think?  Would she dare to deliver mail to a box that looked so . . . odd?  Perhaps even . . . dangerous?  I resolved to leave her an explanatory note. 

This afternoon I trotted down to the mailbox and opened it up.

Looks a bit like a whited sepulchre, doesn’t it? Maybe not. Anyway, at least it smelled good. Lemony. Dee had delivered my electric co-op newsletter. She left me a note.

That is the very first time anyone has ever complimented my housekeeping.  I tell you, this community blog thing is wonderful.  Next week I think I’ll see if I can get Ode and Crystal to write a guest post from Chris and Sonny’s.