I don’t get a lot of mail at my house. I live in the woods and it’s easier to get my mail delivered to my post office box in town. Most of the mail that does get delivered to my mailbox is junk mail. Because important mail rarely shows up, I don’t look inside the box regularly. Not long ago I checked the mailbox to clean it out and to my surprise there was a family of mice in there. How did they got in? I have no idea, but there were at least three or four mice. They had chewed up my junk mail, brought in some leaves and other natural debris and made a snuggly little home.
I didn’t want to do anything dramatic to kick them out, so in the morning on the way to work I opened the mailbox door, left it down and drove away. I figured that they would get the hint and go find a new home. When I came back at the end of the day, the mailbox door was closed. I looked inside. The postman had delivered more junk mail and the mice were still there. I don’t know what the postman thought? Maybe he didn’t even see them? I left the box door closed so they could have a night of peace and quiet.
The next morning I tried again. I left for work with the mailbox door down. This time when I came home at the end of the day, the mailbox door was still down. I was excited thinking that the mice had to have moved out, but when I peeked inside they were still there, all huddled up in the corner. They didn’t seem bothered by me looking at them. It was pretty interesting to watch them run around.
This went on for a week. They didn’t care if the mailbox door was open or closed. This was their home. Finally in the morning before work, I decided that I had to up the ante and got a stick. I pounded on the mailbox a little. No effect. I gently put the stick inside the mailbox. That freaked them out and they all ran away. I used the stick to scrape out their nest. I closed the mailbox door and went off to start my day. I figured that it was finally resolved and the mailbox was mine again.
When I came home at dusk I looked inside the mailbox. The mice had moved back in. Only now they didn’t look happy. They looked very sad and confused, piled on top of each other in the corner where their nest used to be.
I decided at that moment that the mice had won. I went to the hardware store and bought a new mailbox. I put some junk mail in the old mailbox and carefully moved it onto a stump in the forest by a stream. It seemed like a good place to live to me. I hope that they’re happy there. I’ve never looked inside. It’s not my mailbox anymore.