The Letter-Part 1
“Shit! Look at the crap piled up in there.” Normally, David Collingsworth enjoyed his short walk to his mailbox. However, since his grandmother had died 11 months earlier his enjoyment of “mailboxing” (as he called his walks to it) had somewhat faded during the months following her passing. Today, instead of the usual mail being insurance, banking and funeral home correspondence, to pick up, sort through, and send payments for, it was all “crapmail.” The “crapmail” was the first since last December when his grandmother, Christine Collingsworth, had died from ovarian cancer at age 77. His walks to the mailbox at that time had been glum and it didn’t help that it was freezing and there was still snow on the ground. The short half-block trip had worn him down emotionally back then. As if he hadn’t been depressed enough he had had to go through the paperwork of his inheritance with her attorney. When he discovered that she had been much more wealthy than he had envisioned it also took a toll. By late February David had gotten through the worst of his ordeal and was attempting to learn to live without taking care of his grandma.
It was at the attorney’s office that he found, and was shocked almost to fainting, the news that he had been adopted by Christine. In all the years of caring for her she had not mentioned this. He had asked about his parents when he was very young but Christine told him that they had died in a automobile accident and she had taken him in to her home to raise him. The attorney told David that it had been stipulated in her will that he not to be told of this until her death. She had held that fact from him for reasons he couldn’t fathom but after a month of assessing what it all meant to him he came to the conclusion that, although he wondered who his parents actually were, in the long run, it made no difference. David loved puzzles and this was just another to pursue. His love for his grandma wasn’t diminished in the least because David knew her so very well and, he reasoned, it had all worked out. It was amusing to David that he now knew why his grandma called her attorney “The Bagman.” “I have to run down to town and take care of some business with the Bagman,” she had often said. The attorney’s full name, it turned out, was Bartholomew Anderson Godfrey and his grandma calling him “The Bagman” was yet another of her eccentricities. The attorney thought it strange that David seemed so unaffected by his grandma’s passing but his friends knew that, had it been anyone else, it would have been strange but they knew David and were not overly surprised. David was a smart guy and his upbringing had been stable as a rock. David would never know that his mother and father had both died from drug abuse thereby, his grandma reasoned, he would never have to face that fact; right or wrong on her part.
Now, it was May. All the funeral fuss had been taken care of and Spring had burst forth with a vengeance. It was a chance to come out of his “dungeon” working on his computer to say hello to the neighbors and get some fresh air. Today, however, “mailboxing” was going to be almost for naught. But for one letter, which he didn’t at first notice, it was all circulars and ads. David hated junk mail. He hated it with a passion. For that matter, David hated the email stream of crap he spent so much time deleting from his inbox on an almost hourly basis. At one point he had spent almost six hours clicking on “unsubscribe” at the bottom, and barely legible, of one after another emails that he couldn’t remember even subscribing to. Having the same crap in his mailbox was just another dig into his life. He was single and he had no reason to subscribe to a site which sold and sent bouquets of flowers. He also knew full well that he hadn’t subscribed to “Lusty Ladies!” Not only was David not interested in porn he was also a man who had very high standards of morality. Though not overly religious he had the philosophy, learned from his grandmother, that any type of degradation of others only degraded oneself.
The day had not started well. The web server he was working with wasn’t Linux, it was Windows. A “sudo yum” server is what he called Windows; his little dash of humor. Windows may have its place in this world but it wasn’t as secure as Linux and David wanted as little to do with it as possible. After all, he had thought before taking on this website, how can any developer do Windows on a Mac? It isn’t kosher! David was a nerd from birth and there was just no getting around it.
He bent down and looked again into the mailbox at the neatly stacked pile of correspondence awaiting his retrieval; all neatly sorted and placed like a row of books on a shelf by his mail carrier. Reaching in with spread fingers David withdrew the “pile of crap.” As he straightened up he saw a chickadee dart into a hole in the old oak tree near his mail box. His jaw dropped as the little bird darted, without slowing down, into a hole not much bigger that a half inch. Almost immediately another bird which he thought must be the female of the pair. Peeked quickly out then flew on its way with beating wings to a nearby stand of oaks. Watch out BUGS! he laughed to himself. For a few moments, gazing at the hole in the oak, David stood by his short row of mailboxes mesmerized, unmoving. He thought to himself, how do they do that? How can a little bird be that precise? If I tried something like that I’d be splattered all over. Of course, David was a “nerdlinger” and had known so since he was a kid so it wasn’t really a statement he needed to think about. He would be splattered all over at most anything he tried outside of computers.
The morning was bright and warm. It was a “typical” Spring day in May if a day in May can be categorized that blandly. In May the word “typical” loses all sense of reality. The day’s warmth and clarity was stunning. Perhaps “perfect” is the better word and context to describe the set of criteria for a day meant to be out in. It was the kind of day that his grandmother would have said was a rare gift to a troubled world. She had been a Christian woman and had raised David since he was a baby. On a day in May such as this she would be out gardening and singing hymns to her Creator. Hymns of thanks as she had always told David to count the blessings which were small. Appreciate what you have and “covet not” that which you want. David had taken that to heart.
At the age of eleven David asked her a question that had been on his mind for some time, “Why don’t you go to church if you are a Christian?” She supposed that, in some way, she had expected David to ask this of her. After all, most of his friends at school had parents who took them to church each Sunday and said that their church was the “right” church. Right about what had never come up as far as David could remember. He knew that his grandmother had prayed at least twice a day and read her old Bible an hour each day telling David that God’s word was the only way she could face the day in a world gone over to the dark side. It was the promise of better things to come which was her stated reason for her belief. She had told him often that without hope you have nothing and with too much junk you are worth nothing. He sort of understood her; sort of.