For ten miles, ice filled tire ruts in the road, making it damn near impossible for me to stay on the highway. When I reached a town, I pulled into the gravel lot of a post office to escape the sleet and freezing rain, expecting to park there for a few minutes until the worst of it passed. Thirty minutes later, though, it was still coming down and I was getting cold. The tiny building looked like a beacon of warmth so I decided to abandon my old Ford pickup in favor of real shelter. The fierce wind grabbed the truck’s door as soon as I opened it. As I reached for the gust-launched door, a gust caught it and slammed it against my hand; the pain took my breath away. Tucking my throbbing hand in my coat, I gripped the handle with the other hand and made my way outside without further incident, using the force of the wind to my advantage to shut the door when I was out of the vehicle.

A huge flag flying above the building whipped in the savage wind, cracking like a bullwhip each time the outer edge of the cloth snapped against the frigid gale. I dipped my head into the wind and slowly made my way up the icy sidewalk, briefly losing traction with every step, to the plate-glass entry door.

The building was tiny.  Even in this godawful weather, a line of twelve people stretched from the clerk’s station, the only one available, blocking access to a couple of dozen boxes across the room. The place was ten by fifteen feet, if that.




About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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