Postcards from Mount Washington summit: beware of Fred.

A funny thing happened to me yesterday. While I hadn't forgotten about my trip through New England in July, I had forgotten that our wonderful Tour Director, Denice, had handed us all postcards of the Mount Washington Observatory, which she promised to post on our behalf, thus getting the unique postmark. So we all set about writing notes to ourselves or family and looked on with due regard as Denice went to the small USPS counter at the Observatory.

Well, yesterday, much to my amusement, that postcard turned up in my Post Office box, which just happens to be down the road from the Melbourne International Post Exchange. This is important because the card was posted on 25th July. It was postmarked on 3rd August. And while I realise that my yesterday is just your today, it arrived to me on 13th September. I did check and this is the correct amount for international first class postage for letters up to 1 oz.

However, to my puzzlement (at first) then confusion, then horror, I read the note that had been added to my simple greeting. It read:
No stamp U own (sic) me $1.10 Fred ********* 305 N**** Rd ********* NH 03583

*** etc. being the name of perhaps the most famous founding father and writer of a very important US document. Of course, he was Tom and not Fred, but that's another story.

Of course, Fred did not know that I had actually seen Denice lodge the pile of postcards, her wallet in hand, at the counter. I wondered if Fred had not calculated the cost of international postage correctly, or was Fred, as we would say tongue in cheek, on to a nice little earner. Whatever. If Fred had been the kind of community minded, or in this case internationally minded soul to do a stranger a good deed by providing a stamp at his own cost, why did he feel the need to demand payment of the debt? And provide his full name and address for the purpose? You have to admit that's strange.

So the moral? If you are an international guest on Tauck's Grand New England tour, think twice before you give your self-addressed postcard to the Tour Director, lest you, too, get a rude demand letter from Fred. No matter where you hale from, use someone else's address because Fred knows where you live! (A post office box is always useful in these kinds of situations.) And if you are a Tauck Tour Director, sort the postcards yourself and demand an official receipt.


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