"It's only three weeks late," he said. "Did you get it yet?"
"No, nothing," I said. "What is it?"
"It should be there by now. I mailed it Tuesday."
"Hmmm... What is it?"
"I can't wait until you get it. Call me when it comes, OK?"
"Sure. What is it?"
It didn't show up the next day or the day after, so I called him.
"Did you use enough postage?" I asked.
"Too much, probably. Can you use too much postage?"
"Beats me. It wasn't anything illegal, was it? Maybe a dog sniffed it out, then it was destroyed in a controlled explosion."
"Morris, you idiot. I put my P.O. Box number on it. If it doesn't go to you, I want it coming back to the Jaybird. I worked 40 hours on it."
"What is it?"
"Call me when it gets there."
I don't know how your mind works. Maybe you'd go about your business as usual, but Jay Bell nudged my brain into warp speed.
Have I ever seen him build anything? Other than a campfire?
What's holding up delivery?
Is it odd-shaped? (Should I call Jay and ask him?)
What is it? What is it? What is it?
The package arrived eight days after he mailed it. I have no idea what caused the delay, but there was no contraband, so the FBI and Homeland Security can stand down.
Jay sent some 17 years of memories. During a visit with his family in Mexico, Mo., he found a box of old photographs.
"I'm talking negatives," he said. "That's how old these are."
He got them scanned, then printed out three to a page. It was a greatest hits of our camping and beach trips.
"You were never that skinny," I told him.
"Your hair was never that black," he replied.
We looked at the photographs, matching images to our memories.
Wondering if the old camp chairs would still hold our bulk.
Talking about the other people in the photos, and what had become of them.
Noticing this camping trip was before Uncle Jr. died because I'm not wearing the boots I inherited from him.
Good talk. One of the few topics we didn't cover was the timing of our next get-together, because it probably won't be soon.
"Thanks for mailing this a month late," I said. "It makes my birthday last longer."
"Technically, I mailed it three weeks late," he said. "What are you getting me for my birthday?"
"Tough to say. The bar's pretty high. You worked on it 40 hours, huh?"
"Forty hard hours," he said. "What are you getting me?"
"I could put you in the Mighty Daily Journal."
Jay Bell wasn't impressed by the idea.
M. Scott Morris is a Daily Journal entertainment writer. Contact him at (662) 678-1589 or firstname.lastname@example.org.