We don’t have home mail delivery in my town. Even though the post office is only half a mile away, getting there during its open hours seems to require ridiculous feats of time management. I often realize it has been weeks since I got my mail. What’s not nice about no home dellivery is that you end up waiting in line with all the other souls who keep forgetting to go to the post office, who save up their packages to mail or have to get a bunch of packages because they have waited so long. What is nice is that the post office people remember who you are. “I’ll get your packages,” they chirp as you approach the counter. Also: you can often see many people you know.

Because it does, however, seem like a chore, when one of us has to go there, the other person in the marriage perks up. “Can you mail this package?” he asks. Or, “Can you get me stamps?” I’m not always a good wife. “Really?” I snarl, but I give in and do it, because it’s not really that bad, just another ten minutes out of the day that I will have to make up at work later into the evening. Today I ventured to the PO armed with a package of his, a bike helmet that was being returned, and my own package of hope, an entry into the Oregon Book Awards.

It’s ridiculously easy to enter some of these awards; you just have to be willing to part with some cash and some copies of your book. For this one, your book has to be published within a certain time frame and you have to live in Oregon. If you move away before August 26, you are disqualified. So I guess I’m staying. An author friend of mine was in the finals last year, so I hope I can say the same. I handed my package over with hope, wondering what the PO people thought. They’ve seen me approach with PCT resupply boxes, manuscripts to editors, and have seen me receive way too many packages from Amazon. At one post office I used to frequent, the postmaster took great delight in announcing to the line that I was “here again, for another package.”

I left the post office $11 poorer and with more Amazon packages (some things never change). Now, as with all submissions, I wait. I try to forget about the hope, and work on other things. I will mail more stuff, though I am trying to cut down on purchases to things I really need (river crossing shoes to replace the ones that have inexplicably vanished, new socks to replace those that allegedly never get holes). I look forward to what will arrive.