On playing Mailbox Roulette

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Every winter storm is another spin of the Mailbox Roulette wheel. Will your number come up and the box survive the storm, or will the snow plow come by, and, like the croupier’s tool, wipe your investment off the table?

Quest for the elusive plow-proof mailbox continues,” Living Here, Republican-American, March 12, 2006

Despite my bachelor days in northern New England, I never was one for winter sports. I did some skating as a kid and cross-country skiing in college, but never took to the cold.

My wife and I both attended colleges near the Canadian border, but hockey wasn’t my thing either. It was the only sport she followed, though, and she delighted watching her team whup mine once or twice a winter.

It wasn’t until we bought our first house, about a quarter-century ago, that I discovered my true winter calling: Mailbox Roulette. The plow came through that first winter and the heavy, icy slush knocked our already dented mailbox off its post. I fastened it back on with—what else?—duct tape. The contraption stood there all winter, looking like Marley’s bandaged ghost.

Since then, Marley the mailbox has been reincarnated every two to three years. Plastic boxes became metal, then heavy-duty steel. Wooden posts became metal, cemented into the ground. Eventually we upgraded to a MailSwing—a post with a hinged arm that absorbs the blow. It’s made in Maine. We figured that in that state, Mailbox Roulette is a high-stakes game.

A few years ago, we took the game to a new venue. The snow throw from a seasoned Vermont plow knocked our mailbox there off its post like a T-ball set. With no real chance to make repairs over the winter, we resorted to a P.O. box until spring. Then we installed another MailSwing.

The next winter, the Vermont plow scored one against our neighbor. And when we returned to our nest that spring, our mailbox suddenly had a twin!

Want to read more about the history of Mailbox Roulette? You can, online, at Newslibrary.com. Under Advanced Search, search for “Howard Fielding” in All Text, “Republican-American” in Source, and “Mailbox Roulette” in All Text.

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