I might need a little Razorback Redemption today. I might be guilty of fair weather fandom. It’s not like me at all and I have no excuse… but somehow I lost control and commented on a pre-game post that I hope LSU wins the boot this year. LSU is my backup team to cheer on if they aren’t playing the Hogs, but the battle for the boot is serious, and I just self-ejected from the game. Hashtag hanging my head.
I love the Razorbacks. I moved here from New Orleans forty years ago, so the LSU allegiance isn’t that out of sorts. But when I moved into Razorback country I got a fever… Hog fever. The first time I lifted my arms for a wooo-pig-sooie was wooo-pig-wonderful. And it still is, no matter what I said about this year’s butt kick for the boot.
I had to homestead from highway to waterway when I moved out to my little slice of the riverbank: clearing trees, building a road, laying lines, dozing and digging and leveling. Everything that is here now was not here. Including the mailbox.
I remember telling my dad (who never left my side except to put more gas in his tractor) that I wanted a distinct mailbox so I’d have a landmark for people to look for when they came to visit. I declared that I wanted a Razorback mailbox.
When Tyler was tiny, he would countdown our “almost home” landmarks as we neared the mailbox… “there’s the farm! There’s the house on the hill! There’s the gravy yard! (preschool speak for graveyard) there’s the Razorback mailbox! We’re home!” He’s a Razorback now, Junior year up on the hill. I wonder if his college kid heart skips a little preschool heartbeat when he sees that mailbox on his occasional trips home.
Every single working day, I pull into my now well worn and beaten driveway and open the old dirty lid of my mailbox. There is a 10:1 junkmail to bills ratio. The United States Postal Service is basically delivering kindling for my burn barrel. It’s no fault of theirs; it’s just the way things have changed. Opening the mailbox over the years has gone from exciting to interesting to anticlimactic to aggravating.
Ever heard the phrase “watching for the mail”? Wanna know where that came from? It came from folks like me who at one time parked at the living room window watching for the mailman to pull up in his backwards built mail truck with the sliding door. He’d put one – MAYBE two – envelopes in our mailbox. They had handwritten addresses and real stamps and they had letters in them! Paper thin letters from husbands at war. Thick letters wrapped around school photos. Birthday and Christmas and thank-you cards. My grandmother sent us a card for every single holiday, including St Patrick’s Day. It was all bent up because she’d tuck a pin or earrings from Avon inside. Don’t even get me started on free double prints photo mailers… letters and numbers carefully written in each box of instructions, seal up your canisters or those hideous 110 film cartridges, slide your three bucks in, and wait two weeks to get a double set of blurry pictures of your finger in front of the lense. And one good one of your sister.
One out of ten pieces of preprinted bulk mail that now gets planted in my box is a bill. Almost all of the bills have an option at the bottom of the page to “save paper and receive your statement electronically.” Well if you’re gonna judge me on the battle for the boot, you may as well banish me to the dadgum Crimson Tide for all the trees I’m killing because I will NOT mark that option. I want mail in my mailbox. Just like the old days. And yes, I pay my bills online! Who has time to buy stamps? I’m going psycho postal because I haven’t received a dang St Patrick’s Day card in thirty years and you want me to measure my mail in pine trees? Stop sending the pizza coupons and new tire flyers and – oh God, I can pay all my debt with a phone call???
I know, I know… it takes a village and I can’t see the forest… I’m old and not going to fight this battle. I’m using far fewer checks than I once did. Pretty sure I’ve saved at least a weeping willow there. You want conservation? I’m menopausal and I keep my house at 52 degrees – I haven’t used more than an ounce of fossil fuels in five years.
Google maps isn’t marked by my original mailbox. I’ve been through a few of them for one reason or another. I don’t even have the original Razorback. But I do have a legacy landmark. I’ve been told countless times that I better never get rid of my Razorback mailbox. It’s the last line on the list of my directions:
“Go eight tenths of a mile and you’ll see a mailbox with a Razorback on it.”
It’s a pretty sad routine to get out of the car and get the mail… partly because I’m fat and tired and my mailbox is on a hill, but also because the letters are gone. The people who wrote the letters are gone. My dad and my grandma are now in the graveyard across from my mailbox.
But I’m never getting rid of my Razorback mailbox. Every few months or so, I hear myself saying, “Go eight tenths of a mile and you’ll see a mailbox with a Razorback on it.” New friends come along and share in the legacy that is life. When I stop and get the mail, I can glance across the road at the “gravy yard” and send a nod and a smile to my dad and grandma. And I’m fine with that. They were part of my legacy.
I have a landmark that invites you to be part of my legacy, too. It’s not a mailbox or an allegiance to a sports team. It’s the cross and a surrender to the One who took my sin to that cross.
I’m thankful for my Razorback mailbox. It may not hold much in the way of mail, but it holds a lot of memories. I’m thankful for the cross and my Savior who holds my past and future. What is your legacy? What is your landmark? My gift to you is a set of directions to come sit with a friend… “Go eight tenths of a mile and you’ll see a mailbox with a Razorback on it.”
And here are some directions to sit forever at the feet of the Savior…
“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” Romans 10:9