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Guest column | Charles Huhtanen

Ticking clock delivers a postal mystery

The U.S. Postal Service, in order to save money, is stopping Saturday delivery of first-class mail but will continue package delivery in conjunction with United Parcel Service.

The Postal Service advises its customers that along its journey, each piece of mail can be checked for security hazards in a variety of ways. It could be as simple as a check for odd-shaped packages, or perhaps it could pass through an X-ray machine. Any item which poses a possible threat can be confiscated.

This brought to mind an incident that has puzzled me for years.

Jerry Konkel and his wife, Dorothy, of Milwaukee, Wisc. rented our original Florida home after we relocated to another house in the same village of Timber Oaks in west Pasco.

After six years of renting, Jerry, a snowbird, called and said he could no longer make the long dive by car and Dorothy would not fly. We had lost our tenants.

Later, I looked over a few things they had left behind at the house and one was a battery-operated wall clock. I called Jerry and he said he would like it back since it was a commemorative clock given to him by Merchant Marine friends in Tampa. I brought the clock to the local UPS store; they wrapped it up and advised that it would be picked up by either a Postal Service or UPS driver later that day.

A month later, I called Jerry, but he had never received the clock. He called the local Postal Service branch office in his town, but there was no record of it being sent. I called our local office; they had no record of the package, either. I was baffled, knowing that there is no more reliable organization than the U.S. Postal Service.

Jerry was a gentleman of the highest caliber and I tried to find another clock to replace it. Unfortunately, I could not find one of similar design and the company making the clock no longer made that type. Jerry passed away in a year later without me being able to duplicate his clock.

The clock had gone missing in 2007, six years after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. It finally struck me that maybe the Postal Service had X-rayed my package. The clock could have been presumed to be an obvious timing device with its two batteries And, it was still ticking! I had not thought to remove the batteries.

Had the clock been immediately and discretely destroyed by federal authorities? I do not know.

Did they do a background check on me? I do not know. If, they did, they probably would not tell me anyway.

I'll never know what happened to the clock but I still trust the U.S. Postal Service, Saturday cutbacks notwithstanding.

Charles Huhtanen lives in west Pasco.

Ticking clock delivers a postal mystery 02/28/13 [Last modified: Thursday, February 28, 2013 4:10pm]

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