Saturday, June 13, 2009

i've got mail

When we were in grade school, my brother and I had newspaper routes. On Sundays, one of my parents (usually, my mother) would drive us around our routes.

It was more efficient to run portions of the route.

I still remember the feeling of those crisp mornings and hitting a running stride where each stride felt like pure joy.

I am beginning to feel that way about this move to Mexico. If this were a steeplechase, I would have tripped over a few fences and slipped in a pond or two.

But Friday I knew things were going to be all right.

I drove to Manzanillo for a followup appointment with Jiggs's veterinarian. Jiggs's legs passed muster, but the veterinarian wants to see him in two weeks to excise two growths.

While Jiggs was getting a bath, I stopped by Mailboxes, etc. to see if I had any mail. I did.

In fact, I had a huge packet of mail -- as you can see in the photograph at the top of the blog.

During the early 1970s, I lived in Greece for a year. Telephone connections in those days were not good, at least, in my part of Greece. But they were expensive.

My sole umbilical with friends and family was a small postal box. I literally lived for the moment every day when the mail would be placed in the boxes, and I could retrieve the flotsam and jetsam that floated my way from across the Atlantic.

I felt exactly the same way when the clerk handed me that huge packet. Because I pay for the box by weight, I knew this would be an expensive care package.

A large portion of the contents was the type of mail that makes its way from the box to the trash can with hardly a glance. Well, that is what would happen at home. With this mail, I opened everything and looked at it -- even the cruise brochures.

But there were true treasures. Magazines and newspapers.

I have managed to avoid most news stories for the past two months. My sabbatical is over. I now have two months of reading -- and the regular flow should start soon.

Last Sunday, our church congregation discussed what it means to seek justice in a society where we are expatriates. I think I now have a better answer.

In one of my Salvation Army newspapers, I found an answer for me. The Salvation Army is starting an initiative on social justice through an
International Social Justice Commission.

The commission's eight goals are immense:

  1. End hunger and extrme poverty
  2. Universal education
  3. Gender equality
  4. Child health
  5. Maternal health
  6. Combat HIV/AIDS and other diseases
  7. Environmental sustainability
  8. Global partnership

OK. It sounds highly idealistic. But the Salvation Army is not known for aiming low.

Getting involved with the commission may be exactly what I need to get my full stride in retirement. Everything on that list is an issue that my Mexican neighbors face -- some more than others.

That packet brought great news -- and perhaps a way for me to truly hit my retirement stride.


Anonymous said...

Reason to get up in the over rated.Take care.

Steve Cotton said...

Anonymous -- We shall see.

Constantino said...

Steve my friend, you have got too many things on your plate!
I see that you have not discovered that retirement in itself is a full time job.
Saddle that with your hunger for "connection and purpose" and you are teasing a dangerous animal.
Be careful you may end up only moving venues and not results.....

Felipe said...

Mailboxes Etc.? Bet that costs a bit. People are so skeptical of the Mexican postal system. Yet in my almost ten years here, I have found it amazingly efficient.

The only time I know that something never arrived was during a short period a year or so ago in which the entire system was being "modernized." But now everything is back to normal, and I get my mail in my PO box just fine.

With time, especially after you settle somewhere rational, you might want to drop that private system, get a normal PO box, and give us Mexicans a chance to serve you.

Anonymous said...

Gearing down is tougher for some than others. The S. A. does highly commendable work. This sounds like a good challenge/rewarding experience for you. I say go for it.

Islagringo said...

I'm elated for you. I know what a feeling it is to receive a piece of mail here. But what are you going to do as you move around Mexico? I seriously doubt that your mail will follow you around as it would NOB. Time will tell, huh.

Rosas Clan in Tulum said...

I have not taken the plunge for mail yet but I should get on it. What a treat to get that package.

I think the commision that the Salvation Army is doing is great. Those issues are ones that can and need to be spread through out Mexico.

jennifer rose said...

Listen to Felipe's wise counsel. And to me. I've used the Mexican postal service and nothing else ever since I moved here. It works. And the mailman even delivers right to my gate, ringing the bell to hand over the mail even though there is a mail slot. You will save yourself enough money over Mailboxes, Etc. to buy several extra magazine subscriptions.

Anonymous said...

Surely Google News is part of your web-browsing routine, no?

As much as I prefer reading a real magazine, in Mexico I'd likely forgo dead-tree editions in the interests of speed of delivery.

But newspapers? I've always found them unruly. Too big, hard to turn the page, full of content that holds no interest. Online is vastly superior.


Kim G
Boston, MA
Where the Boston Globe is fighting for its life.

Babs said...

The title of your blog is appropriate. It appears you're attempting to recreate the same life, just in a different location......

American Mommy in Mexico said...

Do it.

norm said...

I see a few of my chew toys in your bag, The Economist is pretty tasty on a slow day. When I am going somewhere new, I index old NG's for photos of how it looked back in the day. It is nice to know I will not have to give up my magazines if I move south.

Anonymous said...

It won't be long before you are humming the internationale as you work your way through the days. You're positively starting to show a left lean in spite of what your pictured reading matter might suggest.

Is there a subterranean Miltonian battle taking place within your heart? What presumptuous forces of your personal universe are in revolt?

On you jogging on the road to Damascus?


Steve Cotton said...

Constantino -- The biggest change in my life on this journey south was divesting myself of my former job. Now, I can concentrate on the things that bring me joy.

Felipe -- I tried having mail sent to the house. Nothing has arrived -- even after 6 weeks of waiting. A mail box at the Melaque post office may have been an option, but I am not certain how long this visit on the coast will last. The Mexican mail system is still a possibility -- eventualy.

Francisco -- I never intended to simply slip into a hammock when I retired. Though, I intend to do that from time to time. We shall see what develops from this project.

Islandgringo -- Mailbox, Etc. has locations throughout Mexico. On the other hand, once I settle down, I will most likely follow the advice of Felipe and Jennifer, and use the Mexican system. Much cheaper.

Rosas Clan in Tulum -- Of course, there are restrictions on how far I can get involved in those activities in Mexico.

Jennifer -- As soon as I set down some roots, I will get a Mexican mail box -- or use home delivery. That has not worked out well here in Melaque -- home delivery, that is.

Kim -- I have managed to avoid any of the news sites during my first two months down here. I just was not interested. But I have started to stream my local NPR station. I am listening to "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" right now.

Babs -- That is the reason I picked the name. No matter where I go, my life goes with me. Of course, circumstances change.

AMM -- Will do.

Norm -- When I would go on vacation, I would take the same magazines withme. Why not in my new location?

John -- There is nothing on that list that would not be dear to a libertarian's heart. Personal action toward noble goals is the very essence of liberty.

Mic said...

It's always fun to get mail!!

....and while you are out and about snapping things with your camera, how about a close up of Prof. Jiggs' smiling face....or serious countenance if he is in a thoughtful mood. Would he mind???

Chrissy y Keith said...

We are looking forward to no mail. FedEx is an option.

Calypso said...

Retirement is still a ways off for you my friend - it will happen. It just takes time. In the mean time enjoy the magazines.

Steve Cotton said...

Mic -- I will be posting a Jiggs update here before long.

Chrissy -- Mail is something I will always want at hand. I think that comes from being a boy in the 50s, waiting for that decoder ring in the post box.

Calypso -- Maybe I am just having a different type of retirement.

Nancy said...


Has no one told you that Imprimis is the first piece of mail that goes in the garbage?

Also, Roy is wondering if the Salvation Army can add the pursuit of free TV to their comprehensive agenda?

Love you!

Your liberal pal,

Steve Cotton said...

Nancy -- I have saved that particular copy -- just for you. It is on your nightstand. I am willing to bet that Mark Steyn is your favorite of favorites. See you soon.

Nancy said...

We can't wait to see you..and Professor Jiggs! Are you cooking us gourmet meals?

Steve Cotton said...

Nancy -- No plans yet. But you may want to re-think that gourmet business. Last night I was uncertain if some sliced ham smelled fresh. And what did I do? Ate a piece. It tasted terrible. My stomach is still in turmoil. At least, I threw away the remainder.