BYH, there are a lot of people having anxiety attacks as more and more are awakening to the possibility that we have a...

The Christmas mailbox saga

Bob Garner
1 of 2

Bob Garner

Bob, Ruthie, CP at Christmas Concert.jpg

Sunday, December 24, 2017

I badly needed a new mailbox for Christmas.

At a big-box home-improvement store, I found not only the mailbox itself but a kit for the post and cross post. It’s hollow, satin-finish polyvinyl, and the upright slips over a treated pine post (sold separately). Simple.

I excitedly bought the box and kit but didn’t have the time to visit the lumber department. The next day, I discovered a fat fly in the ointment at the big-box branch closer to my house.

The nation’s second largest retail home-improvement and appliance chain doesn’t cut 4-inch by 4-inch posts to the 4-foot length recommended on the manufacturer’s packaging illustration. It’s apparently a safety issue.

Miserably un-handy, I didn’t figure out I could simply buy a 6-foot, untrimmed 4 by 4, dig the post hole slightly deeper than recommended and let more of the the treated wood post extend above ground inside the PVC sleeve. Duh!

But that still didn’t excuse the unconcerned looks from the cadre of lumber department employees I assembled around me, at least not to me.

“Guys, how are you going to help me solve my problem?”

“We can sell you a power saw so you can cut it yourself.”

“Why not use that saw in your own custom-cut department?”

“Naw, it can be dangerous. They don’t want employees cutting their arms off.”

I wasn’t comforted by the prospect of buying an unaffordable power saw that could cut my arms off.

Finally, a light came on in one pair of eyes. A guy called a competitor, Greenville’s Garris Evans Lumber Company, which promised to cut the post for me.

It was beginning to shape up like a Christmas story. Especially when Garris Evans refused to charge me for the 4-foot trimmed lumber “because of my inconvenience.”

The saga took on more holiday overtones when my neighbor came over, dug the hole and plumbed the post all nice and straight for me.

The two GMs were responsive to my store feedback. They agreed with the idea of posting local substitute instructions in their mailbox departments. One even suggested they might contact the manufacturer to suggest altering the installation illustration on the box’s exterior to substitute a 6-foot post. When a major national account calls; small, start-up firms usually listen.

We’ll see about follow through. I’ll visit the lumber department with a photo of my new mailbox, all decorated with a Christmas spray and bow, hoping to promote “customer experience” inspiration.

Garris Evans Lumber will get home-baked sugar cookies, the kind neighbor will get home-smoked barbecue and the lumber department guys will get a “Bless Your Heart.”

No, I’ll take them home-baked cookies, too. It is Christmas.

Bob Garner is a UNC-TV restaurant reviewer, freelance food writer, author of four cookbooks, barbecue pit master and public speaker. Visit this column on reflector.com for video of Bob making cookies and a link to the recipe.



Blonde granddaughter Clara Pierce was lovely at the Orchestra 1 recital: 2 scales and “Jingle Bells.”

This was also the Christmas/holiday concert. And it was another little blonde-haired girl who really captured my rat race-bruised heart.

Four hundrend relatives and friends noisily tittered. A kindergartener, front-row right, was petrified to be on stage. Her bewildered look crumpled into quiet sobs as the opening song began.

The teacher immediately jogged to the little girl’s side, kneeling to eye level and stroking her head with her right hand, cheerfully conducting with her left. It didn’t work well musically, true.

But it made my Christmas.

As to conducting, the teacher conducted herself exquisitely. She probably taught more in an impulsive gesture than she ever has with music instruction. And she’s the best music teacher I’ve ever seen in 60 years of observing.

Ironically, she jokingly presents as a hard-boiled, New York Jew. She had taught several Hanukkah songs to accompany Christmas carols and secular holiday favorites. But she reinforced the core of my faith — and hers — without having to say “love.”

Hint: Her name is Melissa. Everyone adores her.

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah, everyone.

Postbox Movie from Bob Garner on Vimeo.


Humans of Greenville


Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.


July 22, 2018

Q Our son committed a felony 2½ years ago. It was a horrific shock and he has been receiving the best possible treatment. It was not a crime against people.

Since that time, our other children (with one exception) will not allow us to have their children at our home unless they are…

Carolyn Hax

July 22, 2018


Dear Short Answers: I recently sent out invitations for a dinner party that I was planning, and I just didn’t feel like getting into the hassle of everybody’s ridiculous dietary restrictions these days. So I included a note…

Short Answers

July 22, 2018

I call it “psychological thinking,” referring to the tendency among parents of the last 50 years or so to attribute bad behavior on the part of a child to so-called “issues” that are thought to be causing emotional tensions of one sort or another. That is, in fact, precisely…


July 21, 2018

Not all trees are created equal. While most trees that cover our landscapes provide us with aesthetic and ecological benefits, there are a few that probably do not belong here. Some trees can be invasive, some are insect and disease prone, and others may not grow well in our eastern North Carolina…

Eric Derstine

July 21, 2018


■ Anderson Chapel Missionary Baptist Church, 4352 Anderson Chapel Road, will host men’s day at 11 a.m. Aug. 5. Edgecombe County Sheriff Cleveland “Clee” Atkinson, Jr. will be guest speaker. Music will be by The Shades of Harmony.

■ Burney’s Chapel Free Will Baptist…

July 20, 2018

What is winning?

Most would say coming out victorious — being the best.

But Celestine Davis, director of the Down East Flick Fest, says there is much more to winning than being the best — and that’s the point of the film festival that kicks off today at Whirligig Stage…


July 20, 2018

5TH STREET DISTILLERY AND ANNEX: 120 and 122 E. Fifth St. 757-3034.

A.J. MCMURPHY’S: 1914 Turnbury Drive. 355-7956. Today: Teg. Saturday: The Carolina Beach Club. Monday: Cards Against Humanity. Wednesday: Sports trivia. July 29: Will Stovall. 


July 20, 2018


Film festival

The Down East Flick Fest will be held from 11:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m. today-Saturday at Whirligig Stage, 628 S. Pitt St. The event will showcase works by filmmakers from across the state, along with some international entries. Free, but registration is recommended. Seating is limited.…


July 20, 2018

Capsules of movies playing locally. New releases are indicated with an asterisk.

ANT-MAN AND THE WASP — As Scott Lang balances being both a superhero and a father, Hope van Dyne and Dr. Hank Pym present an urgent new mission that finds the Ant-Man fighting alongside The Wasp to uncover…


July 20, 2018


“Revisiting Cornerstones: The Louis Orr Etchings of North Carolina,” will be on exhibit through Oct. 7 in the West Wing Gallery.

NC Civil will present “To the Core,” a journey through the history, identity and expression of the West Greenville Community, through Sept. 2.…

285 stories in Look. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 29
        Next Page»   Last Page»