Special delivery — from beyond?
Appeal Staff Writer
Since its founding in 1775, the U.S. Postal Service has been called many things, but rarely “supernatural.”
On March 21, New Yorker JoAnn Skousen received a birthday package from her mother and father containing a Fabergé-inspired music box. An odd choice perhaps, as they had sent her the identical present five years earlier. Moreover, her father had passed away on Feb. 3, and here was this card with a note from him apparently written in great spirits and in perfectly neat handwriting.
“Birthdays were really important to my father,” said Skousen. “So my first thought was that maybe he had signed a bunch of cards ahead of time before he became ill.”
But her mother’s note was even more bizarre, mentioning how fast time flies and how amazing it was that it was already the year 2000.
The year 2000?
Skousen checked the postmark and quickly phoned her mother, Dorothy Saunders, in Carson City.
It turns out that the package had indeed been mailed in 2000. It had been sent Priority Mail in March 2000 and had finally arrived in March 2005 – nearly 9,000 days later.
Saunders could have probably gotten equally efficient results had she saddled the present to a goat, pointed the animal in a general southeasterly direction and given it a swift kick.
In 2000, after a few months went by with no word of its arrival, Saunders ended up buying a second music box for her daughter. This time her gift arrived as promised and the lost parcel was quickly forgotten.
Until it showed up at her daughter’s house, undamaged and in perfect just-mailed condition.
“Five years later here it is out of nowhere and right on my birthday,” said Skousen, who firmly believes that her late father had some hand in directing the missing package to her. Even from beyond.
“It’s just such a coincidence,” she said.
“Usually when something like this happens the post office will attach a note explaining what happened,” said Augustine Ruiz, a U.S. Postal Service spokesman.
“These things do happen, but not very often,” he added.
Skousen says she cherishes the belated birthday card as a priceless reminder of her father.
“He knew that I like a good mystery,” she says. “I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what the whole thing might mean symbolically.”
“I think it’s my father saying that he’s going to be around keeping an eye on things and that he’s looking out for me and my mother,” says Skousen. “It’s him saying that he hasn’t really left us.”
Instead of berating the U.S. Postal Service for taking a half-decade to accomplish a task they promised (with an asterisk albeit) to complete within two-three days, Saunders says she still has the utmost confidence in the age-old institution.
“Oh, I still go to the post office for just about everything,” she said.
In their 22 years of marriage, Saunders and her husband were apart only two times.
“Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction,” says Skousen.
– Contact reporter Peter Thompson at email@example.com or 881-1215.