I think some of the best memories I'll have of this stage of life with my kids will have happened during our flyer route. When you deliver flyers three times a week on the same route, you must get creative to fight off boredom.
I have mention before that the kids like to race our mail carrier, Kelly. She is such a good sport. I've told her she reminds me of Wooten (mailman in Adventures in Odyssey), because he once lost his job for taking too long to deliver the mail every day. All the little old ladies along his route would wait for Wooten to come because they had some sort of task for him, which he very good naturedly carried out. Kelly has told us how she has gone in for "just a few minutes" into a lady's house because she wanted to show her dogs, and ended up staying for tea, leaving 45 minutes later. That is the kind of sweet lady she is. Anyway, the kids wait anxiously every time we go out, hoping we will meet up with Kelly, because if we do, there will always be some great adventure along with a little visit.
There are certain houses we label with names. There are games the kids come up with. For instance, one house has a tree that has little red berries on it. The berries always cover the sidewalk - thus the house is called the Berry House. At the Berry House, the kids always play the Berry Game. The Berry Game quite simply is trying to avoid stepping on any berry while delivering the flyer, which at times is impossible. However, Seth and Hannah attempt it every time, and sometimes there is even a winner.
Then there are the Dog Houses. There are several Dog Houses on our route. Most of them have the dogs behind the fence with the BIG SIGN of warning. We talk to the dogs as much as possible in a kind voice to let them know we are their friends. However, most of them let us know we are on their property and don't appreciate it.
There is one house, however, that is the ultimate DOG HOUSE. For in this house lives a 160 pound Newfoundland dog. I know this because this dog and owner were outside one day and we got to meet this dog..........from about 50 feet away. He told us he was very friendly, and although he had a huge BOW WOW, he meant well. However, 160 pounds on top of my 50 and 65 pound children would spell disaster, so even though the mutt is friendly, we still shiver and shake in our imaginations.
This house has a big front door and right beside it a thick pane of glass. Every time one of us delivers the flyer to this house, the big DOG jumps up on the pane of glass and barks.......
(literally folks, it sounds like that)
and scares the living daylight out of whoever the lucky candidate has been to deliver the paper. Even though we prepare ourselves, the bark is enough to make my own heart skip a few beats.
Well, my son has recently decided he wants to deliver the flyer to the DOG HOUSE. He gamely tells me he is not afraid, and impressively, he has done so for several weeks now. Every time he walks down the sidewalk, before he turns into the yard, he has a chat with himself.....
"YOU'RE NOT GONNA SCARE ME, YOU OLD DOG! HA! I'M NOT SCARED!"
and it has me in stitches. I am so tickled that even though it scares him a bit, he is determined to go up the stairs to the DOG HOUSE and deliver that flyer.
One day a few weeks ago, he walked down the sidewalk to begin his journey. He began his usual muttering.
"I'M NOT SCARED, YOU OLD DOG!!"......he cautiously approaches the front door......."YOU'RE NOT GONNA SCARE ME YOU.......
I was practically on the ground laughing. For whatever reason, no matter how much he psyched himself up, this time when the DOG jumped up it scared the living daylights out of him!
To his credit, he still delivers to the DOG HOUSE. I sadistically look forward to going to this house every time, if only to hear his mutters.
All in all, delivering flyers has been a great experience. The kids get exercise. They earn money, for which we get to teach great lessons in money management. They get to meet and talk to people regularly on the route.And we get to laugh ourselves silly. It's all good.