Off the Wall, November 3, 2016

Sometimes the strangest things turn out to be the most fun if one changes his attitude and goes about the predicaments with a little different approach.

One may remember the story I did not long ago about my getting a box of staples in a carton that was supposed to contain fishing components for building fishing lures. At first, I was awestruck by the whole thing. “There must be a mistake,” I thought. “I didn’t order staples. I have these little bended wires on every floor of our residence.” In other words, using an old saying, “That would be sending coal to New Castle!”

They were sent from Target. To make a long story shorter, I called the company and they told me I not only didn’t have an account nor did they send me staples. But there was an invoice included that had almost all the correct information on it except the order identification number was wrong, so it couldn’t have been ordered by me.

That was mystery number one. Could it have a surprise gift from one of my readers? That was mystery number two. Anyway, as you know, I kept the staples, and they are sitting right on my desk where I put them after taking them out of the box, and that’s where they will stay.

If I need a smile for my day, all I have to do is look at the box, and that will do it.

But it seems, this isn’t where the story ends.

Recently, I received a wonderful tray of cookies in my mailbox. “How thoughtful” were the words that entered my mind. Then I thought about the staples and then I burst out laughing. “Hey, what fun,” I blurted out. Another saying entered my mind. “Great things come in small packages!” First the staples and now cookies!

Neither had names attached as to from who the givers were. I can handle this. Keep ‘em coming!

There is a slight twist to the cookies’ story, and it’s a “goody.”

One day I exited my house to get the mail, I met up with Mike Clark, who delivers my Latrobe Bulletins on a daily basis. No sooner did I open the door did he hand me a paper. I stated, “Thanks, Mike,” whereupon he looked me squarely in my eyes and said, “Thanks for the cookies!” My comeback to him was “What cookies?” “The ones you left for me in your mailbox marked “Newspaper.”

We both stood in silence and looked at each other momentarily, and then he asked, “Didn’t you leave those cookies in your mailbox for me?” to which I replied to the negative. He then apologized several times. “I can tell you this. I ate them all, they were sure good,” he said as he smiled while making his statement.

But really, was I supposed to know just by the wrapping of these goodies that who they were from. Unless someone speaks up, I will always consider this mystery number three.

I define mysteries as encounters that enter our lives that we aren’t supposed to have an answer. Some can be challenged with the eventuality of finding answers, such as crimes or murders.

Many residents who live in the Greater Latrobe area and the outskirt communities know that there are ghosts living within our homes, places of business and other places. I accept them as mysteries. I have watched one in action when I lived in Laughlintown, so I have no doubt to their existence.

As I write this column, I am reminded of an envelope I received in the mail weeks after I closed my business, Pee Vee’s Fishing Lures and Tackle, on Ligonier Street in Latrobe. There was no return address. That threw up a red flag of suspicion right off the bat. I opened it and inside I found a hundred-dollar bill. I felt indebted, but to whom, to this day, I don’t know who sent it. I made phone calls to all the people who I thought might have given from their heart, but all denied it. I then accepted it as a mystery, and let it go at that.

We all know people who give to charities and write anonymous, as they don’t want their names know.

If you wish to keep me smiling and want to continue this trend and make it an on-going tradition, go for it! Just mark the items of generosity with either Pee Vee or Paul, please?

- Paul J. Volkmann
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To buy my book, Off the Wall Favorites, call me at 724-539-1951.