FedEx 1, UPS 0
For those who haven’t ventured up the road to Gypsy Rose, this tale of delivery may go unappreciated, but last week's arrival of Marion’s repaired camera via FedEx was a first here on the mountain.
Vermont’s road classification system categorizes all town highways into four classes. Beginning with Class 1, State Highways, and ending with Class 4 that, by definition, “are all other town highways including trails and pent roads.”
Class 4 roads do NOT meet the criteria set out for Class 1 through 3. (Class 3 requires that the road be “negotiable, under normal conditions, all seasons of the year by a standard manufactured pleasure car . . . including but not limited to sufficient surface and base, adequate drainage and sufficient width capable to provide winter maintenance.”)
Traffic is always light on the road that leads to Gypsy. One or two vehicles in a day would be considered heavy traffic during the summer months. Walking, horseback riding and biking are far more common. (Hunting season is the exception, but we won’t get sidetracked with that tale of men and their machines . . . ) Once the snows fall, the sound of a vehicle is not heard, except perhaps for an occasional faint rumble from far away.
During the second week of December we received 10-plus inches of snow. We decided to clear the road to make way for Marion’s departure for a visit to family. (Normally, the Subaru spends the winter months buried under the snows until April and we keep the 4WD truck parked near the junction with the nearest Class 3 plowed road.)
Returning home on a Friday night, I noticed tracks up the lane. “Hunters,” I mumbled, thinking of the damage they’ve done this year. “I’ll sure be glad when the season is over on Sunday!”
The next morning I took a look at the tracks that had come from a vehicle turning around at the entrance to our meadow. Turning back toward the tractor, I peered in disbelief at something that was stuck to the front of the John Deere’s hood. “What’s that?” I puzzled. “It looks like a parking ticket.”
Anyone familiar with these parts would know that a parking ticket is something that’s probably never been seen within 30 miles of our home. What that piece of paper was, however, is something that this piece of land has NEVER seen.
Friday, December 11th was a first. FedEx had attempted to deliver Marion’s camera. A signature was required for the delivery. The tag on the hood of the tractor requested that I sign, stating that another attempt to deliver would be made on Monday, the 14th.
I signed the tag but kept it indoors over the weekend. More snow piled up outside. On Monday morning I walked back to the tractor at the edge of the road and reattached the FedEx delivery tag to the hood. Throughout the day we found ourselves pausing from the routine.
“Was that a vehicle I heard?”
Darkness fell and no delivery truck had arrived. Time to call FedEx and schedule an alternate pick-up. I walked back to the tractor to get the tag, assuming it would have phone numbers printed on it. To my surprise, the tag was missing. Hanging from one of the hydraulic cylinders on the front-end loader was a plastic bag. A box was suspended in the bag. FedEx delivers.
Two days later, I received a call from UPS. They had a package addressed to me. The woman on the phone explained to me that the driver had balked because “the road didn’t look too well traveled.”
“Tell him to leave it at the post office in town,” I responded. “That’s what I’m used to.”
FedEX 1, UPS 0.