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Paul Francis Mc Cann

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The Magic Letterboxes
By Paul Francis Mc Cann
Saturday, May 19, 2012

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A families timeline looking from a letterboxes perspective


After the war was over Bert and Rita were wed . They were now Mr and Mrs Smith and with the severance pay Bert received they bought some land in a spot called Charity Hills . With cattle and horses on the land they set up a place for happiness on Drop-A-Line farm .

When the kids arrived one after the other so did the drought that nearly broke them , but they worked day in and night out , sometimes without getting any sleep .
It was a real test for their marriage .
They borrowed from family and friends and survived the drought .
Life was quiet and lonely on the land . Once a week Bert would drive to town to collect their mail from the general store . Then suddenly things began to change in Charity Hills . More and more people were buying land due to recent offers from the Government who were providing horses and cattle for people who wanted to settle in rural areas .
A building boom came and then the post office arrived .
When Bert placed their very first letterbox box on a post outside their property it almost gleamed with pride with the name Drop-A-Line displayed on the front flap .

One bright sunny morning the postman pulled up at the letterbox and pushed the very first letter into the slot and drove off .

“At last . “
Said the letterbox as it the letter was dropped .
The letter inside the letterbox began to read out the contents of the letter .

Mrs and Mrs Smith
Lot 1
Drop-A-Line Farm
Charity Hills


Dear Bert and Rita ,

In relation to your insurance claim for hardships during the drought . It is with great pleasure that I can confirm the claim has been approved and a lump sum payment will be made into your bank account within the next few days .

Yours sincerely ,

Mr Merryweather .

All seasons insurance .



“Well that is just brilliant . I love good news . “
Said the letterbox who continued
”What a relief that will be for them I’m sure .“

Suddenly the letterbox went quiet as a hand reached in and lifted out the letter

It was Rita’s hand and she walked back towards the house calling out to Bert .
“It’s our first letter honey .”

“Who from ?”
Came the reply .

“The insurance company .“
She said .

“Well hurry up and open it up .“

Within moments the two of them were dancing round and round together on their front porch .

The blue sky now had a silver lining and there wasn’t a reason to moan .

The next day two letters were pushed into the slot .

“Well what’s the news today ?”
Asked the letterbox .

The first letter answered

Mrs and Mrs Smith
Lot 1
Drop-A-Line Farm
Charity Hills


“Dear Mr and Mrs Smith ,

We are a employment agency who have hundreds of skilled workers throughout the country and would like to offer you our services to you on the land .

The letterbox interrupted ,
“Ok . Thank you , that’s enough . “
What other news .

The other letter said ,

Mrs and Mrs Smith
Lot 1
Drop-A-Line Farm
Charity Hills




“Dear Mr and Mrs Smith ,
Just to confirm that a place for your son John has been allocated at Charity Hills Primary school next year . An appointment for you all has been made .
If you have any questions or concerns you would like to address , please don’t hesitate to ask them when you arrive next Tuesday .
We look forward to seeing you all next week .

Yours faithfully
Mr Goodfellow
Principal Charity Hills Primary School ‘


“Oh now that’s something . Little John starting school next week . That’s a big event for everyone in the house . “

All went quiet as a hand reached in a lifted out the two letters .
Within the next few years all the children started school .
With the insurance money Bert and Rita had started an olive plantation that yielded a bumper crop . They had hire some workers from the employment agency who worked all night picking the olives . Life was busy on the farm and as time marched on there were many changes around the property.
Machines had replaced the people who used to pick the olives . New storage sheds were built . Because there were some government grants available some wind turbines were placed around the farm . Other alternative projects were in progress for possible exports . One thing that never changed was the red letterbox out front .

One day a few trucks arrived at a property beside the Smiths farm .
That day a lot of activity was seen as some new neighbours had arrived .
The Houston family were moving in .
After a short time a new letterbox was erected beside the one Drop-A-Line farm .

The Smiths letterbox said .

“Welcome to Charity Hills . I’m Smith LB . “

“Thank you for that . . Can I call you LB . I’m Houston by the way LB and I’m pleased me meet you . ”
Said the new Letterbox .

“LB’s fine , Houston .At my place there are five people . Dad or Bert then mum who is called Rita and three children John , Margaret and Lisa .“
Came the reply .

“That’s so good . I have three with me . Gary is Dad , Jill is mum and a boy called Bill .”
Said Houston

“We get lots of Bills here Houston .“
Said LB


“I get what you mean LB , I’m sure we’ll get on very well .“
Said Houston .

“They’re a happy family here . I’ve had no concerns so far . Been here over twenty years now . The two girls are engaged to be married and John is getting married next weekend .“
Said LB

The new letterbox said ,
”Well before moving here the Houston family lived in a caravan . They gad been saving for years to get enough for a deposit for a home loan . Just last month I got the news from their bank manager that their loan had been approved . So here we are and what a beautiful place it is LB . “

“Yeah . We like it . You’ll get to know all the regular visitors during the day . There’s a friendly Mutt called Tutt who likes to chase the postman’s bike and there’s a bird called Sweet who likes to tweet tunes from her tree top to the passers by on the street and 9of course there’s this cat called Skat who likes to lie flat on her back pretending to be asleep with one eye out for Tutt and the other eye out for Sweetie bird . ”

The new letterbox said .
“Have you ever had a post strike round here ?”

The reply came
“Never here . In my place the post is delivered before twilight and to this day I’ve never had any letter stay overnight . Well here comes the postman now .“

From the top of the laneway a little furry dog ran after the postman’s bike . Barking and running furiously until the bike was almost gone .

A few minutes later after all the letters were delivered each of the letters in the boxes began to read their contents .


John Smith
Lot 1
Drop-A-Line Farm
Charity Hills



Dear John ,

Just a few lines to remind Vera and yourself about the wedding rehearsal on Friday at 6pm . Could you contact the other members of the wedding part also to be there . I would like to thank you both for the wonderful way in which you are preparing for your wedding day . Its only a few weeks away .


I love the way people like you write everything down so I don’t forget .
I’m not as young as I used to be .


Yours faithfully

Reverend Lee Reynolds PP.

The second letter then started to read out its contents ,


Mrs and Mrs Smith
Lot 1
Drop-A-Line Farm
Charity Hills


Dear Bert and Rita


At local council some new changes were made in relation to a number of rural properties . One of the changes involved Drop-A-Line farm . When you purchased the land it was sold based on a hundred acre minium contract . That figure has now been amended to five acre minimum blocks .

Thank you ,
Yours sincerely
Stanley McStammer
Local Town Planner
Charity Hills Council


In the other Letterbox
The letter was reading out the contents

Mr and Mrs Houston
Lot 2-Sunny Lane Cottage
Charity Hills


Dear Gary and Jill ,

Enclosed are the photos from your ultrasound tests last week .
The pictures show two health baby boys . We look forward to being with you at the maternity section of Charity Hills hospital in three months for the birth of your twins .

Yours sincerely

Doctor Heart

A little bird up in the tree started to chirp .
Two hands lifted their mail from each letterbox and then after an introduction Mrs Houston and Rita Smith started talking .

Over the next few years three new homes were built on 5 acre blocks at Drop-A-Line farm . Each house has a letterbox for Bert and Rita’s children who were now married and raising families . John and his wife Vera had two children , while Margaret and Lisa both had baby boys .
There were now 4 letterboxes standing outside Drop-A-Line Farm and one at The Houstons Place now known as sunny Lane Stud .

A muffled barking sound was heard as a dog with a stick in its mouth came running along the lane . It wouldn’t drop the stick and the furry dog was getting slower chasing after the postman’s new and faster bike .

After a few minutes all the letters were delivered .
Then one by one each of the letters read out their contents .


The Manager and Owners
Sunny Lane Stud
Lot 2
Charity Hills

Dear Mr and Mrs Houston ,

We are one of the biggest names in the thoroughbred racing industry and recently have heard good reports about your stud in Charity Hills . The word is that you are producing some champion two year olds and we would like to include your stud as one of the services we can offer to our international clients . We are offering you and seven year contract with an annual six figure
Salary .
Should you accept our offer we have a number of horses we would like to place with you immediately there at Sunny Lane Stud .

Could you contact us as soon as possible

Yours truly
Mr J I Song
CEO Evergreen Racing Pty Ltd


“Hey LB I’ve got some great news today .“

Hang on Houston , I have an issue here with a letter ,give me a minute and I’ll be with you .

A letter were being read out

John Smith
Unit 2 - Lot 1
Drop-A-Line Farm
Charity Hills



Dear John

I am writing you this letter to thank you for your submission of an artwork called Life On a Farm . It is now my pleasure to tell you the work has won first prize in the State for best new work category . You work has also been awarded first prize in a project called Country Letterboxes . On the artwork you had submitted there were five letterboxes side by side that captured the judges eye and they have awarded you a one year residency sit at one of the best National Art workshops . If you can get some time off from life on the farm they would love you to stay there and have a number of commissions to offer you if you are interested .’

Congratulations and we hope to hear from you very soon .

Yours truly
Molly Meadows -National Director
Regional Art Society

“Hey everybody , I have some great news . “ .

“What is it LB?”

Came the reply .

“John is a famous artist and we have all won first prize in an art competition .“

All the letterboxes replied ,

“What . Tell me more . Oh say its so .“
LB Continued

“I can’t believe it . We are now known as famous country letterboxes .“

“Wow what ever happened ?”


“Wait on a moment , here he comes to get his mail .“

A large hand reached in and lifted out the letter from the box .

In a few minutes John was gone and then the unit 3 letterbox started sharing its news .
“I had a letter from a magazine called New Farming Ways . They want Margaret and her husband Paul to have a holiday with their little baby on a mountain . It’s a reward for placing twelve extra wind turbines on the farm.”
“A retreat . From what farming life ?”
Asked The Houston letterbox
“It will do them good to have a retreat . It’s like a holiday . All they ever do here is work all night and day .”
Said the Unit 3 letterbox .
The unit 2 Letterbox said ,
“I had some news for Lisa and her family . It was from the hospital . She is going to be visiting the maternity section next month . A new baby will be arriving .“
“Well if I wasn’t made of iron I could cry with joy .“
Said the Unit 3 letterbox .
Lisa came walking down to get her mail .
When she had gone LB said
“Oh just wait until I tell you what I got this morning .”
I had the news passed over from a letter this morning about aged care and all the support networks out there for Bert and Rita .“

“Ah don’t tell me they’re getting old LB .“
“Well yeah , it looks that way . I feel like having a lean over . I never though they’d get old but I guess things are changing .”

Bert walked down from the house and reached in to take his mail .
“Well wait til I tell you . At my place there might be lots of new horses arriving very soon .“
“What’s happening there Houston ?”
LB Asked and the answer came .
“Well they’ve been recognised as one of the best horse studs in the country and everybody wants to send their horses here .“

After the birth of their new baby Lisa and her husband Dave began making their wine . They acquired 5 acres fro Bert and Rita and set down some good vines and within a few years their small wine business was growing and earning respect in the industry .
Another letterbox was placed beside the others in Sunny Lane .

One morning as the postman came , the little furry dog didn’t come chasing after the bike .
After all the letters were delivered the letterboxes began to share their news .
The Houston letterbox spoke first .
“Hey everyone listen , something exciting here . One of the horses that Jill and Gary bred has just been nominated Horse of the year and has won millions on the racetrack . Now there is talk of a movie being made , right here on Sunny Lane Stud . Isn’t that great ?

“ Sure is Houston “said LB who continued ,
“Well I guess it had to happen , sooner or later guys . Bert and Rita have just been offered a place at Charity Hills Nursing home and they want the family to speak with the community health team next week . “

“That’s a big decision for everyone . What will happen to you LB , if they end up in some nursing home “

“Well I’m not sure . lets not talk about it yet ?
Said LB .
Unit 3’s letterbox spoke nest ,
“ Margaret and Paul’s son , Steve is making some noise in the field of new energy engineering . He has been asked to present his ideas on the hot rock process to a group of scientists in an international forum . He has just been given some huge accolade in a leading text book used by mature students in one of the newest Global On Line Universities . I think we will be hearing lots more soon about this bright lad Steve .”
Time passed by and not much mail was arriving into LB box but everyone else kept things interesting for news was always coming in .
Some new building developments had begun at Drop A Line farm . On two separate five acre blocks new buildings were erected .
The first was a working art gallery that was centred on displaying local artists . The gallery was Johns concept after spending a year living as a resident at an artist workshop in the capital .
The second building was a workshop with residency to accommodate from one to three people at a time . John wanted to provide a place for any artist to come and feel free to paint and feel inspired by the surroundings .
Because it was a business of sorts the two new buildings had two separate letterboxes . Various art societies and artists were showing signs of interest . The Government had provided a budget through the arts council and a committee was formed to provide funds for yearly works to be done by a chosen artist to express an chosen art form . Those art forms were to be made public and were to have a wide scope from sculpture to canvas .
This concept could even become a seasonal activity for artists .
Some new and exciting letters were now arriving at the letterboxes out the front of Drop-A-Line farm .
Charity Hills soon became Charity City with more and more people coming to live there . Streets with kerb and gutters took the place of little lanes .
One thing that never changed were a number of letterboxes that still stood .
Although they were now spaced a little further apart on Sunny Street . The news of the Smith Family was being shared by many new letterboxes all over the City .

The End


By Paul McCann
and Bobby Stuart

       Web Site: Poetry By Paul McCann

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