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Priority Mail: What Goes Around, Comes Around
That poor package
must have been exhausted.
get me wrong, as
I love the Postal
and think they do
a much better job
than they often get
credit for. But sometimes
I have to wonder.
I carefully wrapped some awards plaques to mail to a recent Northern California
Publishers & Authors book awards winner who lives in Grass Valley. To speed
delivery, I packed the plaques in a Priority Mail box and took the box to the
Citrus Heights post office, for expected delivery in one or two days at most.
Worryingly, after a few days the addressee had still not received the package.
Picture this. The package first went to the sorting facility in West Sacramento,
where all the region’s mail goes now as its first stop. Very efficiently
it was dispatched to what the Postal Service thought was its intended destination.
Unfortunately, they read the return address label and sent it back to Citrus
Heights for delivery to ME.
The carrier must have short-stopped it, as, according to the delivery-tracking
log I looked at more than a week later, it then went back to West Sacramento,
where it sat for a few days, perhaps resting up from its circular journey. Then
the package was sent on its way to Grass Valley and delivered a day or two later,
hopefully no worse for the wear, and only a week after it should have arrived.
Lesson learned: use a smaller return address label.
Reminds me of the various postpaid cards I’ve sent to magazines in past
years, ordering a new subscription, or other occasional postpaid business reply
cards for book clubs and the like. Too many times the Postal Service turned the
card over and sent it back to me, using the small-print address on the reverse
rather than the large-print address on the front of the card – the side
with a business reply permit notice or a stamp. I finally gave up and took to
stuffing those cards into an envelope for mailing.
Fortunately, those situations really are the exception, not the rule. In fairness,
by the way, I mailed another package the same day as the one that took the detour.
The second one was delivered the next day.
• • •
of Grass Valley, Rosa and I recently spent a nice afternoon there
and in neighboring Nevada City. Those towns are gems for a day trip
from the Sacramento area, less than a 90-minute drive from downtown
Sacramento, and only an hour from Citrus Heights, Orangevale, Fair
Oaks, or Roseville.
You can hardly turn around in those Gold Country towns without finding something
quaint and historical. Granted, they are hilly, and they were not designed for
As for historical, a fun attraction in Nevada City is the Firehouse Museum, at
214 Main St., in what really was a firehouse. The museum features “Relics
of the Donner Party, Maidu Indian Culture & a Joss House that was located
in Nevada City in the 1880s,” to quote its Web page description. A volunteer
docent is available to introduce visitors to the collection and to answer questions.
Summer hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, but call 530-265-5468 to confirm. The
museum is free to visit, but donations are welcome.
“What is a Joss House?” you might be asking. It is a Chinese temple
or shrine. That area had a significant Chinese presence during the Gold Rush,
and the museum offers a glimpse of that culture, and much more.
You need not go hungry during your visit, as both towns feature many restaurants:
Mexican, Chinese, American, pizza, sandwiches, and more. We had lunch at the
excellent Las Katarinas (Spanish for “Ladybugs”) on Broad Street,
Nevada City. New and used bookstores meet your reading needs, and antiques stores
offer more old and interesting things than you can shake a stick at.
If that is not enough, in Grass Valley visit Tess’ Kitchen Store. That
is a destination for home chefs, three floors of every kind of cooking aid and
utensil you can imagine, from choppers and slicers to mixers and dicers; coffee
makers to baguette bakers; cutting boards to coffee hoards (more Keurig K-cup
flavors than I’d seen in one place); not to mention grinders, mixers, brewers,
spreaders, and measurers. If that is not enough, they also offer a full schedule
of cooking classes.
• • •
you know that the railroads saved Sacramento? Part of the city’s
deal with Southern Pacific was to build levees on which to place
tracks. Over more than a dozen years, the whole business district
was raised by an average of about nine and a half feet (if not more),
a feat made possible by the levees.
Old Sacramento, site of much of the ground-raising, is loaded with museums, plus
fun specialty stores and restaurants. Check out some of these on your next visit
(descriptions below quoted from the OldSacramento.com website):
California Military Museum: Housing 33,000 artifacts documenting two centuries
of Californian military tradition.
California State Railroad Museum: North America’s finest and most-visited
The Delta King Riverboat: Walk through the lobbies of this floating hotel, restaurant
and entertainment fixture to explore the history of river travel between Sacramento
and San Francisco and the restoration of this historic vessel.
Huntington & Hopkins Hardware: Part of the Old Sacramento State Historic
Park, this free museum recreates a small town hardware business and displays
19th century tools and machinery.
The Huntington & Hopkins Hardware store, next to the Railroad Museum, is
a trove of interesting things. It also features a nice selection of books on
local history and old-time interests. This time of year, the Railroad Museum’s
excursion train is running on weekends, an experience not to be missed. And Evangeline’s,
a store that defies description, is an attraction all by itself.
Have a comment or a story to share? E-mail me at email@example.com or write in care of Spectrum. Really!
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• • •
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might be over-thinking this. Hard to be sure. As readers know, I try
to find meaning in Chinese fortune cookie fortunes. A recent one has
me puzzled. We’d gone to the Chinese Gourmet Express at the Food
Court in Sunrise Mall. (Who serves as judge and jury at the Food Court?
Or do they call it that because you can put a lot of food vendors on
trial, so to speak, in one visit?)
Rosa’s fortune read, “Man’s mind, once stretched by a new
idea, never regains its original dimensions.” OK, fair enough. That is
food for thought. Then I opened my cookie and found only a toothpick-thin sliver
of paper in place of a fortune. Well! Is that some sort of message that I have
a narrow mind, not stretched by new ideas? I crunched down my fortune cookie
in grumpy silence.