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The Toughest Part is Getting All Those Catalogues Out of the Mailbox

     The toughest part of Catalogue Season – you know, the season before, during and after Thanksgiving and Christmas – is getting all those catalogues out of the mailbox. I open that little door – or lid, or whatever you call that thing that pulls down – or up - and flaps while you’re struggling with a cordon of thick and skinny catalogues curled loosely around a few odd pieces of real mail.

     I peer at the coil of catalogues, flyers and loose envelopes, hoping to see a letter from a friend or a check or even a magazine. As I reach in, the catalogues press up tighter against the inside walls and ceiling of the box, and that rubber band the mailman put around the whole passel rubs back and forth against the side. Can’t budge it more than a half-inch in or out.

     Determined, I scrunch the curl of mail together, changing its U-shape into a V, and tug with all my might and it comes loose with a jerk and I fall backwards onto the driveway just as my neighbor jets up behind me in his Corvette and screeches his brakes to stop before he tires right over me.

     He doesn’t. I didn’t.

     No, I just jockeyed the stuff out of the mailbox and started up the driveway. I made it two whole steps before the biggest catalogue slid out from the middle of the stack. Immediately the junk mail advertisements surrounding it flipped out and the rubber band popped off and all the rest of the slick, slippery catalogues went flying far and wide.

     When I finally got to the house, I set the pile of mail onto the dining room table. The plan was – sort through and take the letters, bills and checks (hopefully) and put everything else in the paper recycle bin out in the laundry room.

     But then I spied a really neat three-dimensional tic-tac-toe game on the cover of the top catalogue. Sure would make a great present for Blake. I’ll bet Tobyn and Shelby would like it, too. Or maybe there’s something else in here they’d like. I’ll just take this one catalogue to look at.

     I slid it off the top of the stack, when what to my wondering eyes did appear but a glistening new cover filled with cheese straws and wine country fromagerie and berry bonbons and merlot and pointy silverware all in a creamy wicker basket draped with a flowered damask napkin. How unique! Who could I give that to?

     No. Don’t do it. Put it back in the recycle stack. With “American Stationery.” No one I know uses stationery any more. And “The Territory Ahead” – you don’t get that one? Me neither. Except during Catalogue Season. Then I get one every three days.

     Oh look! There’s “Plow & Hearth.” Got a nice battery-operated candle from there last week.

     C’mon on. I really don’t know that many farm people. Looks like “Holiday Open House” wants me to come down to the Hallmark Store this weekend. So inviting, with the light shining through the wreath on the front door…

     But I pass on that one, too. Only to run into good ol’ “L. L. Bean.” Lots of people I know would love to get a Christmas gift from “L. L. Bean.” But if I look through that one, I’ll have to check out “Coldwater Creek” and then I’ll end up buying something for me and that certainly isn’t in the spirit of Catalogue Season, is it?

     So what I plan to do is take that stack of catalogues right out to the recycle bin – every last one of them. Except I’d really like to look at that one on the bottom. And maybe that one that came yesterday – with the carved wooden reindeer on the cover. It was really neat! I think I can find it in the recycle bin when I take these out.

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