Picture it. The post office. In the deep South. A hot and humid afternoon. I haven’t had more than three hours sleep, my debit card got declined when I tried to get lunch, there’s a long ass line, and I have one last envelope to fill out before I can get on the ever-growing line to send everything out.
While I’m writing at the counter, a little girl around five or six years old with a seal puppet on her hand comes over to great me.
“Hi. You’re pretty.”
Ummm…okay. I guess this is what’s happening now.
“Well, hello there. You’re pretty, too,” I reply, pen still poised.
Her sister, about three or so years older, sporting a bunny puppet on her hand, decides to come over and join her.
“Hi, you’re very pretty. So’s your shirt,” the older sister informs me.
“Hi. And thank you. You’re both very pretty, too.”
“This is my seal,” the smaller girl tells me.
“That’s cool. What’s his…or her…name?”
“Her name is Wavy.”
“That’s a good name. Hi, Wavy.”
The older sister pipes in. “My bunny’s name is Logan.”
“I like that name. It’s nice to meet you, Logan.”
“She’s a girl.”
“Okay.” I smile and there’s a pause. I think maybe they’ll wander off to introduce their seal and bunny to someone else, and I also don’t want to be the creepy woman in the post office who’s talking to random children.
“We just came from the library.”
Right. I’m in the South. This isn’t creepy, its adorable and innocent. I put my pen down and smile at the girls.
“So did I! I love the library.”
“You did?” the younger sister happily asks, smiling at the coincidence.
“Yes, I did. I love to read. Do you girls like to read?”
The older sister lights up.
“I love to read! She,” pointing at her sister with the Logan the Rabbit hand, “can’t read yet. She’s only five.”
“I’m only five.” Little sister solemnly confirms this fact.
“She’s going to kindergarten in the fall.”
“Then you’ll be reading in no time!”
The little girl’s face lights up and then her seal starts chomping on the countertop. Logan, not to be left behind, starts to dine on the countertop as well. It happens to be the part where there are post office stickers that explain which slips of paper you need for what types of packages.
“Wavy and Logan seem hungry.”
“Well, we just got them. They’re very hungry!”
“It might be better to eat that part of the counter, though,” I suggest, indicating the smooth blue part with no writing on it and no slips of paper that people might have to get to. “You don’t want them to chew off the instructions. How would people read them?”
Both girls giggle and move their pets to the plain countertop.
The older sister thinks ahead. “We have carrots at home. I’ll give Logan carrots when we get home. Wavy needs fish, but we don’t have that.”
“Carrots are good for a bunny,” I agree, thinking about the night their mom has in store for her, what with her precocious children feeding real food to the library puppets.
At this point, the girls’ mother finishes up with the postal clerk and comes to gather the girls. She smiles at me and tells them to say goodbye. They do, as do Wavy and Logan. I go back to writing out my envelope with a big grin. A silly, sunny, little interaction like that is one of the reasons I love living in the South so much.