Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News

Walter Albritton

September 3, 2006


It all started when I joined the Lone Ranger’s Safety Club


      I am old enough to remember when the mail was delivered by the mail man. I remember him being a kind man and old. Mamma would buy postage stamps from him. He never seemed in a hurry but always brought the mail about the same time every day.

          Nowadays the mail man may be a woman. Our mail carrier lately has been an attractive young woman. For the first time in years I have wished you could still buy stamps from the mail man. My wife says I should buy them at the Post Office in town.

          As a child I seldom got mail except on my birthday when I received a few cards from Mamma’s sisters. I remember how special it was to receive a card or a letter with my name on it. At Christmas, with Mamma’s encouragement, I would write a letter to Santa Claus but he never wrote me back.

          One day I got a letter from the Lone Ranger. My excitement was deflated when I opened the envelope. It was not from the Lone Ranger after all, but from his staff. I had been accepted as a member of the Lone Ranger Safety Club. Enclosed was a nice certificate of membership, with my name on it.

          That certificate was special. I hung it on the wall beside my bed. It made me feel that I was somebody. I can still remember how proud I felt. I was not just a poor country boy out in the woods. The Lone Ranger knew me and I belonged to his club.

          That has been a long time ago, but I know now that it was the Lone Ranger who got me into the mess I am in. He sold his address list to some friends and ever since then I have been getting tons of mail from people wanting me to join their clubs.

          I was impressed at first. Superman wanted me to join his club, and for seven dollars I could learn all about kryptonite and how Superman got to the earth. But seven bucks was a fortune back then so I had to be content with my Lone Ranger membership.

          As the years went by I realized it was impossible to belong to every club that wanted to include me. But by the time I got smart enough to know what was happening I had joined a book club and a record club. My wife and I had to build a shed to house all our books and long-playing records. Somewhere in our piles of stuff we still have some of Johnny Cash’s first records though the string music of Mantivani’s orchestra was our favorite.

          Being pack rats my wife and I have difficulty throwing anything away. So we still find room in the house for some of those books that the club thought we should read. I wasted several hours trying to read Napoleon’s memoirs but finally gave up.

          Back in February I attended a seminar on woodworking. Since then my mailbox has been loaded with invitations to join woodwork book clubs and subscribe to at least four woodworking magazines. It never ends.

          Once I was a lonely, unknown country boy longing to be known and have significance as a person. Now a thousand organizations are sending me mail, clamoring for my money and offering me membership in their clubs. We may have to get a second trash can just for the junk mail.

          How my life has changed. Once I longed to get a letter with my name on it. Now I write two or three letters every week asking various “clubs” and organizations to remove my name from their mailing list.

          I never thought it would come down to this but I have to admit it – I have a grudge against the Lone Ranger. If he had not sold that mailing list I might not be drowning in this raging sea of junk mail. + + + +