Gunter was gazing out the window of his father’s SUV, or he called it a truck, with excitement. Today he was going to visit his grandfather, Old Man Gunter, at the old, run-down post office that he worked at when he was younger in the far outskirts of the big city.
“Hurry Papa! I want to get there soon!” The 8-year old boy shouted while bouncing in his seat. The driver laughed and looked back at his son. “We will be there soon. I’m glad you’re excited.” His father looked back at the rubble road as Gunter nudged his twin sister. “Can you believe it? It’s like we’re going back in time!”
Gunter’s sister, Helga, swung her blonde curls and nodded. “Yes, I wonder how Grandma is doing and what he will eat afterwards!” Gunter sighed but did wonder what goodies and surprises awaited at their grandparents house. He, his sister and his parents lived in a big German city and it was always a treat to come to the rural country to visit their beloved grandparents.
The rolling hills, specks of sheep in the distance, patches of wildflowers and scattered houses passed by Gunter’s window as they neared their eagerly anticipated destination. The dark gray SUV stopped in front of a duplicated building with a faded hanging sign which read the words Post Büro.
“Ahhh! Have my grandchildren finally come form the far mystical city?” A groaning, but cheerful voice broke the air. With laughter and giggles the twins quickly ran to the doorway and were scooped up by an old man with a postage hat.
“Ahhh you made, now come in and I have something for you to.” He gently put them down and slowly walked behind the old wooden desk and went up to the little mail boxes on the back wall behind the rusted brass bars.
Helga and Gunter stood in the center of the bare floor as the dust bunnies fled from their incoming steps. Little woods shavings, pits of paper were hidden int he nooks and crannies of the room and a family of mice were scurrying away into the holes, hidden from sight. “What could Grandpa Gunter want to give us?” Helga whispered with cupped hands to her brother.
Gunter shook his head, just as confused. “I don’t know. Maybe it’s a treasure map!” His eyes lit up as his sister gave a half annoyed, half amused snort. “I don’t believe that, but it must be valuable.” They both jerked up as Grandpa Gunter approached them and kneeled down.
“Now Helga and Gunter, as a mail delivery boy I learned it’s always good to get a delivery to the right home, but sometimes a mistake can turn out for the better. Years ago, someone’s great great great grandfather sent a letter to encourage his fellow brother, but it got lost and ended to my great great great grandfather instead.”
“The letter was so moving and touching that my ancestor sent two letters, one to the sender and the originally receiver.All three men met and became great friends, but my ancestor kept that letter that he received. He decided to pass it down to his son when he was old enough to receive the sage wisdom and encouragement contained in the words. You father had it at one point, but I wanted to give it to you both.”
Gunter and Helga’s eyes were wide as they heard the story and their little were slightly shaking as their grandfather extended the letter to them. They both took and held the old yellow paper and looked at each other. The sound of a snap made them turn….
The little boy turned the page of the photo album and saw black and white photo of two children with an old man behind them smiling. They both held a closed piece of paper in their small hands and they had a look of surprise and yet understanding at the same time. On the other page, in a clear folder lay a yellow closed letter with the wax stamp opened.
“Papa, are you the boy in the picture and is this…” he lost his words as his father turned in his chair to look at him. Gunter, for he was an adult now, chuckled and walked over to his 7-year old son. “Ja, that’s my and your aunt Helga. One day soon, I’ll give you this letter. It has been a comfort to me in hard times and a source for brotherly wisdom in times of questioning. Yes, that letter will be yours soon.”
The boy smiled wide and looked into his father’s eyes. He wondered what words lie behind the wax stamp of the ancient letter and waited for the day when he could open it for his own journey.