A Post Post: What’s Holding Up Your Mailbox

Generic!

There was a time in my life when I could get excited about an oddly decorated mailbox. I still muster some enthusiasm  but that’s a post for another time. Moving from North Portland to SW allowed me to rediscover mailboxes. In North Portland people had mail slots in their doors. In SW, what sidewalks I’ve encountered have mailboxes planted in them. Mailboxes are a great invention. They offer opportunities for creativity. This didn’t distract me from looking under mailboxes. It happened on a twilight walk heading towards Maricara Park on SW Maricara Street. I spied multiple posts that were not run-of-the-mill or generic. Ingenuity is happening on this street. Mailboxes are being supported in creative ways. This could be a competition among the neighbors or they might draw inspiration from each other. Either way, it makes a walk to the park more scenic.

When I was a kid, well into my sullen teen years actually, we equated the suburbs with “the sticks.” We were living in the middle of a suburban quagmire that was part of an endless metropolis slowly devouring itself, but those stifling teen years had the feel of a life in the middle of nowhere. You could hardly go anywhere without a car, and I did live within a couple hundred yards of a cow pasture with cows and a farm that was eventually abandoned. Whether my SW digs have that exact feel is irrelevant. That suburban spirit is more present out here and can be felt when I take a left down the street to the unlit section of the road. It feels like that old Woody Allen joke about the suburbs. (That’s the long ago,  funny Woody not the current creepy version.) Referring to that living-in-the-middle-of-nowhere feeling he said, “there’s no place to walk after dinner and there’s Dick and Perry.” I’ve yet to encounter Dick and Perry** but thoughts of after dinner walks are met with feelings of exhaustion. It’s too far to walk anywhere. These days the sticks are more about what’s holding up mailboxes. These posts fight the stigma of ordinary while often supporting standard mailboxes. Observation is about taking a closer look.  You might find something interesting.

They Stoned Me

A post that rocks!

When I feel like I’m becoming a mailbox post critic it scares me. I mean how much actual work is there for this kind of thing. This mailbox is a work of art. It has beautiful, smooth stones and it’s set in a rich landscape of small boulders and flowers. This is excellent cement and design work. Anything to keep a mail person interested in their job.

They Stumped Me

Almost a wood stove.

This has to be the best kind of repurposing one can imagine. It appears to be a utility pole leftover. Regardless, it does its job of balancing a mailbox.

One on the Trunks

Mail tree

More sticks here but the real coup de grâce is the how the double trunk cradles the front and back of the box. It looks natural. It appears be an actual tree that was in the right place to be trimmed to form a post. This box holder is due an award in a best supporting role.

Plow Some How

Plow it up!

All right, all right, this isn’t exactly a post but it is a decorative element that sure spices up an otherwise unglamorous mail delivery system. It serves double duty. When it’s not plowing harden it spruces up the mailbox post.

Tree Huggin’ Again

I’m stumped.

The answer to any post dilemma is in using what’s available. This may not be the most attractive piece of wood but it gets the job done.

At Least I’ll Get My Welding Done

Metal rules!

This one is down the road on SW Huber Street. It involves something I get excited about: Welding! This art is serviceable sculpture, a subtle accent to the metal container above it.

Brick-à-Brac

Brick house for mail.

Not so much a creative use of postery, but this example is included to demonstrate what types of set-ups exist. This is a rugged, sturdy, box holder that also seems like it could cook pizzas as well as store mail at the same time.

**Read Truman Capote’s book In Cold Blood.

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It’s a Purple World, You Just Haven’t Noticed

Prince’s death shocked the world and inspired the Portland Orbit to look for a way to honor him. Tonight a pedalpalooza ride will celebrate his legacy. We have to live with a diminishing output of Prince material. Regardless of how many recordings are in the vault it won’t be the same without a living Prince creating new sounds and musical trends. While things will never be the same, it doesn’t stop us from seeking out another thing Prince left behind: his love of the color purple.

There can’t be much to the Prince/Portland connection. Sure he came here for business trips but it’s unclear if he noticed enough purple to make him feel at home. The only thing I could come up with online was a blog post from the Portland Orbit which was pure speculation, miles away from hard journalism and the blog could only surmise what’s already been said here. There’s no evidence, one way or the other, about whether Prince had a soft spot in his heart for Portland but the world has a soft spot in its heart for Prince.

On this anniversary of Prince’s birth, as spring roars hopefully into the more level headed season of summer, it feels like time to pause and consider purple. Purple reminds us of Prince and reflects his spirit. You won’t have to be a Prince fan or even a fan of the color purple to appreciate this post but it will help. Sit back, catch your breath and contemplate these purple hues.

Purple Wall

Plain, yet purple, this wall color spot lights elegance, perhaps shining above the blues inducing and unsightly nearby garbage can. As part of a dry cleaners on Barbur Boulevard in SW, this color choice on part of the building caught my eye for being the right splash of color in the middle of drab surroundings.

Purple Mountain

Bringing truth to the phrase “purple mountain’s majesty,” this portrayal of Mount Hood does it in style with just the right lighting conditions. Its part of a longer mural on the side of a building on Interstate Avenue.

Purple House

Living in a purple house is as close as some of us get to the Prince lifestyle. It’s a bold choice and it’s the right choice. It gleams in sunlight and cheers up the Foster-Powell area neighborhood on a gloomy day.

Purple Counter

Not too many of us look under the counter at restaurants but while waiting for a take-out order I drank in the purpleness of the counter’s base. It struck me as the right kind of deep and glorious purple for the Kenton neighbor establishment of Po Shines. Another color might have run the risk of blending in, remaining hidden under the counter and going completely unnoticed.

Purple Ex-Coffee Shop 

I’ve been saying good-bye to this place for a long time. The purple paint job, in all of it’s three shaded glory, is something to behold. It’s tough to imagine this Piedmont neighborhood ex-establishment becoming anything else especially a business that might require a new paint job.

Purple Decorative Bike

While getting into an almost realm of dental art by virtue of being placed in front of a dental office, this bike qualifies for inclusion in a purple post instead. It stands out with it’s old-timey style and lighting. This bold bike may not even inspire anyone to make an appointment for a cleaning but it jazzes up the landscaping.

Purple Bike Rack

Where else would you lock a purple bike but on a purple bike rack. Here’s further proof that purple is a versatile color for any municipal equipment. It brings a bike rack into the realm of art object.

Dual Purple Garage Doors

No one gets excited about garage doors but when there’s two of them and they’re purple excitement does begin to gurgle. Tucked away in the SW neighborhood of Arnold’s Creek, these  double doors of purpleness exude tranquility. It’s a strong accent to a more utilitarian and often overlooked aspect of a home.

Purple Planter

Perhaps we have to stick with this newly coined adage, “if you’re feeling down, keep some purple around.” Surrounding an orange tree with a purple planter is one way to stay color coordinated and purple, like Prince himself, can get you out of one funk and into one that’s way better.