Once upon a time, long long ago, a mother & father sent a care package to their loving daughter while she was living abroad. That package departed the continental United States on October 12, 2010 and arrived in Spain (from Pennsylvania by way of Chicago) approximately 10 days later. Packed with care and loaded with good things, it arrived at the capital of the kingdom – also known as the center of the universe.
Due to a logistical mishap in the mystical land of Spanish customs, a Spaniard with his or her head in the clouds saw the name “Ron Holland” and assumed that the package in fact contained commercial goods (specifically rum from Holland), therefore banishing it to a towering pile of packages awaiting payment for said category of goods. A letter explaining its whereabouts was dispatched from Madrid and took its sweet time arriving to its destination a mere several hours south.
Days, weeks and months would pass.
Letters, faxes and emails would go back and forth, back and forth, between the pueblo and the capital to no avail.
There were questions of residency, nationality and overall existence. No phone number could be called, no human being could be reached. Neither heads nor tails could be made of this postal mystery, by civil servants or by laymen, regardless of how many godforsaken reference numbers adorned the many letters and forms.
In the meantime, many other packages arrived at their destination in the kingdom of Spain. Despite heavy rains or accompanied by soaring sunshine, the brown paper wrapped boxes appeared again and again within mere days of their departure from the land of the free and the home of the brave. Christmas decorations, foodstuffs, books and clothes would make their way across the icy Atlantic and safely to the daughter’s door in the hands of a kind postman (or mistress).
Just when things were looking up (could it be?) another delay would take over. The father swore to never write his full name on a package again. The daughter swore she would advance on the capital and kick ass. The people in the pueblo made endless jokes about beverages from the Netherlands. The mother thought it prudent not to mention the extent of the delicious goods tucked away in that wayward box.
At long last, after one hundred and twenty days, the package would ultimately return to its home in North America, to the very doorstep from which it departed. The mother reports it is a little worse for the wear, but it turns out the people in customs did not in fact eat the poptarts, take the pills, assemble the puzzle ….. or Drink the Fictitious Rum.