How's this place work?

If you could take a little mental holiday and go to any imaginary place, where would you go?
And what would you do while you were there?

Send me a postcard, handmade or otherwise, from an imaginary location. It can be a place from a book or a movie or a piece of music, or some other world you made up. On the other side, write and tell me what you've been doing on your vacation from reality.

All postcards to be addressed to:

Wish I Were Here
6219 156th Ave. NE
Redmond, WA 98052
United States

I'll scan a selection of postcards and post them to the blog for all and sundry to enjoy.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Why you should never trust an owl to deliver parcels

Well, I checked, and once again there's bupkis in the mailbox. So while we wait for further missives from imaginary lands to make their way here, let's have a story, shall we?

This story begins on a long-ago September day in a faraway place called Ogden, Utah. School was over for the day, and two grade-school sisters -- huge fans of the Harry Potter books -- were walking home together. As they approached their front door, though, they saw a strange circular box on the front porch, tied neatly with twine, with a stray owl feather still clinging to the package. The box had no visible name or postmark on the outside.

The girls brought the box inside and opened it on the living room floor. Inside, packed in excelsior, was a letter written in an old-fashioned hand in emerald-green ink -- but under the letter was a tiny golden box containing a crystal teardrop. According to their mother (from whom I received all the details of this story), the girls grabbed up the teardrop and went screaming around the house with excitement. Eventually, when they had calmed down enough, someone thought to read the letter that came with the package. It was addressed to Professor Dumbledore from Arthur Weasley at the Ministry of Magic, and explained that the Dragon's Tear -- the teardrop the girls had been shrieking about -- was an old Weasley family heirloom, but that Dumbledore was free to borrow it to do a bit of complex and powerful magic.

Mom and Dad pointed out that the package had obviously come to them by mistake, and that it would be best for them to send it on so it could get to the right place. This didn't sit well with the girls, one of whom was all for keeping the Dragon's Tear, but eventually they agreed to packing everything back up in the box. They did, however, add a note of their own introducing their family and explaining what had happened. Then they put the package back out on the front porch. It was gone by the next day.

A week went by without anything untoward happening. Then one day there was a letter on the front porch addressed to the children of the family, with a wax Hogwarts seal on the back. Inside, on Hogwarts letterhead, was a letter from Professor Dumbledore himself. He thanked the children for their honesty in passing along the Dragon's Tear, then asked if he could prevail on them to send him a few "Muggle items" he'd been looking for -- things they might easily find in their area, such as pennies, "some of that wondrous Muggle stuff called plastic," lemon drops, etc. This the children did, leaving the package to Professor Dumbledore on the front porch for owl pickup. Like the other package, this one vanished.

Then, a few days before Halloween, trouble struck. While driving home from work, Dad began to have a strange medical episode where his arm went tingly and numb and his heart felt strange. Fearing he was about to have a heart attack, Mom called a neighbor to come over and watch the children while she drove her husband to the hospital. The house was, understandably, in an uproar over this, and so it was that no one noticed the approach of a strange visitor to the front door.

There was a loud knock, and the neighbor opened the door to see a very, VERY large man (perhaps a half-giant?) dressed in black with a long cloak, a staff and a bundle of packages. He announced that he was a courier from the Wizard Parcel Service, since the packages he carried were too heavy to be brought by owl, and that he was here to deliver several items to the children of the family.

While the courier stared curiously at the family portraits on the wall and occasionally poked at them to try to make them move, the children unwrapped his bundle. Inside was another note from Professor Dumbledore, sets of wizard robes and hats from Madam Malkin's for every child in the family, wands from Ollivander's that had been de-magicked by order of the Ministry, and a box of sweets from Honeydukes (chocolate frogs, Every Flavour Beans, chocolate rocks, powder-pears). These were received with much excitement and curiosity (one of the girls asked the courier if he'd flown to their house, but he only smiled and refused to answer). Once he was satisfied that the parcel had been properly delivered, the huge courier bid everyone goodbye and quietly disappeared, as I suppose wizard couriers do.

Thankfully, things also turned out all right with Dad, whose heart attack turned out to be nothing more serious than a stress-related incident. Mom and Dad were just sorry they weren't at home to see the courier deliver his bundle.

So there's the tale of the owl that got blown rather drastically off course, and the hijinks that resulted. It makes me wonder how many other magical items get delivered in the mail, by accident or otherwise.

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