Dear Ed,
Now that the leaves have fallen, animals in the barn, wood in the shed, the thoughts of all of us out in the countryside turn to one thing ... mail boxes! A sure sign that winter approaches is found in the activity at lane's end as we frantically prepare for the attack of the most dangerous of winter beasts, the snow plow. Amateur psychologists (are there professionals?) can seize the opportunity to discover their neighbour's attitude to life. There is the defensive type, frantically applying florescent tape and painting the box bright yellow - or the traditional bright orange in Jessopville. The cynics among us ask: "Why give the plow driver a better target?"
Life's innovator rises to the challenge by devising a "plow proof" installation. This foolish crowd splits into two basic types. The first are mechanical engineers who hang the box on the end of a cantilevered structure of pipe and wire. These are designed to swing out of the way when hit. Of course this leads to a contest among the drivers to see who can spin the thing all the way around. The second type is the ballistics expert who mounts the box upon a pole in a pail of dirt, designed to be thrown clear by the blade. First prize goes to the driver who wings it over the line fence with the most damage.
Our aggressive type wants to get even, erroneously believing that the plow can be taught a lesson. The less subtle of these spend much of their time trying to convince the Township that a two ton bolder is the ideal mail box post. More clever ones present devices such as welded four inch chain mounted in concrete. Supposedly decorative, this artifact is really designed to wrap around the wing and rip it off the truck. Skilled drivers can wing the box off the top without touching the first link.
Lastly, and sadly, there is the resigned pessimist who believes there is no hope. We sport battered boxes recovered from the dump, nailed onto an old post that's too short for any good use. We just hope it doesn't get hit with the milk cheque inside.
By the way, what will this winter be like? I saw our snowplow driver down at the hockey game the other day. He was sporting a maniacal grin. We are in for lots of snow.