The bigger the mailbox, the harder the packages are to remove.

My mother recently went out to check her mailbox and found it stuffed with a single package. “Jammed” is a better word.

“If I’d known it wasn’t mine, I could have set it on fire to get it out,” she told me.

Truthfully, my precious mother said no such thing. But that quote adequately describes her frustration at finding a large package wedged inside her mailbox, and her struggle to remove it.

“Now if it wouldn’t fit, why would they not just put it on the porch?” Mom asked. “Lazy,” she answered, “that’s why.”

That quote I did not make up.

Such is the nature of the mail-order culture in which we now live. Never before have so many packages arrived at so many houses. We get scads at our house. Mom finds at least as many at hers.

There are four households on the family compound. Packages for the other three often are left on Mother’s front or side porches or in her mailbox — the size of which is probably a contributing factor.

When a government vehicle took out Mom’s mailbox a couple of summers ago, the county replaced it with one nearly twice as big as the others in the family row. It’s a magnet for packages that otherwise would need to be placed on porches.

Despite the number of boxed items left with our mother, many more are carried up the hill to my sisters’ homes or down the lane to mine.

There are stories in the news right now about warehouse workers who package mail-order items and ship them out on planes, trains and trucks. The people are fighting for better working conditions.

I hope they win. Maybe it will enhance efficiency. Many times in recent years, I have opened relatively large boxes to retrieve tiny products seemingly worth less than the cardboard and bubble wrap that came with them.

The special, not found-in-stores dog food that my wife ordered recently arrived a day before the flea medicine that was part of the same order from the same company. All of it could have fit into one box — or at least one truck.

I complain, and yet I also benefit from the incredibly speedy deliveries. In that respect, efficiency is at an all-time high.

I ordered on Saturday tiny plastic clips needed to repair an automobile door panel. They arrived on Monday.

Mail trucks big and small, representing every major delivery service, are likely to appear outside our house at most any daylight hour. Occasionally even after dark. I fully expect that the blind corner in our driveway will eventually be the crash site between a brown truck and a white one.

I just hope my mother is there when it happens. That way she can pull the drivers from the wreckage and ask, “Now which one of you is it who can’t tell when a package is too big to fit in the mailbox?”

Contact Mark Rutledge at