Gaylord Guenin: Letters from Woody Creek
July 29, 2009
By golly, it is true that small things do matter. The residents of Woody Creek have become somewhat agitated recently as a result of a relatively small item, the community bulletin board, being removed from the Woody Creek Post Office.
According to a note posted on the board, the bulletin board was removed because of “Postal Service policy,” which was not too difficult an explanation to accept. You can easily visualize some minor if overpaid bureaucrat idling away his time by creating senseless rules and regulations for the Postal Service.
But the Woody Creek Caucus is somewhat suspicious of that explanation because it is claimed that other post offices in the area continue to display bulletin boards, so this looks more like local policy than one that encompasses post offices nationwide.
But this is not FOX News, so I’m not going off half-cocked with a pile of accusations, mostly based on hearsay, and an endless display of finger pointing. This is not a matter of placing blame but an effort to have the bulletin board returned to its place in Woody Creek. According to an e-mail from the Caucus, the man who made the decision to eliminate our board is Murray Johnson of Grand Junction.
In light of that, the e-mail urged residents to write Johnson and encourage him to restore the board. His address is: Murray Johnson, P.O. Box 4609, Grand Junction, CO 81502-9992.
Bulletin boards are endemic to our culture. They can be found in most Laundromats, churches, fraternal clubs, community centers. county courthouses, grocery stores, service stations – just about anywhere. A local bulletin board quickly becomes a communications center for a specific group of people and, in a modest way, it can tie a community together.
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Suddenly realize your beloved pet is missing? You make a batch of alerts to that fact, maybe with a photo of the pet, and you are off to the bulletin boards. Amazingly enough, you may find your pet because good neighbors who regularly check the local bulletin board suddenly become a part of your search party. You would never be able to convince a pet owner, whose lost pet was returned, that a bulletin board is not a vital part of the community. And the smaller the community, the more vital the board becomes.
The board is an effective way to alert your neighbors to special events, such as a fundraiser for an ill neighbor or someone who has suffered a severe accident.
For years the community bulletin board in Woody Creek was attached to the outside of the Woody Creek Community Center (WC3) when the center was still a store. Renovation on the store required the addition of a ramp for the handicapped, which eliminated the area where the old bulletin board was located. Because it served Woody Creek, the board was unusually popular and notices of one sort or another often overflowed the board and were attached directly to the building, which could make for a rather messy scene.
People are extremely adept at posting stuff on bulletin boards and entirely inept when it comes to removing dated material. So a handful of us took on the chore of becoming bulletin board “deputies.” Almost daily we would remove notices of events that had already taken place and notices that had been on the board for so long they had begun to age and fade. We also removed commercial real estate notices, figuring that the dirt pimps could afford to do their own advertising in the local papers. Lost pet notices were given deferential treatment, and were allowed to remain until they had pretty much deteriorated to the point of being unreadable.
And, of course, we all know that bulletin boards are among the world’s greatest marketplaces and the delightful thing is that they are all-inclusive. You don’t need a membership or permission from some invisible committee to post a notice, you only need an item (or a bunch of items) and a thumbtack. The community bulletin board takes the concept of egalitarianism to an entirely new level. If you have something to sell that isn’t valuable enough to warrant a classified ad in the local paper, just wander to your local bulletin board and let the world know about it at no charge to you.
Roommates are found on bulletin boards, as are cars for sale and motorcycles and skis and baby cribs and bales of hay and horses and lamas and piano lessons and just about anything else you can think of. Bulletin boards, at any given moment, are a delightful and eclectic collection of miscellaneous stuff and notices and announcements. I suspect you could begin a revolution just by posting a need for volunteers on a bulletin board.
Having the Woody Creek bulletin board in the post office is perfect partnering. The post office in itself is a communications center, a place where residents run into friends and neighbors and exchange information and gossip. The bulletin board nicely complements that activity.
Woody Creek wants its bulletin board back and it makes all sorts of sense to restore it in the Woody Creek Post Office. Not to get erotic on you, but I have a hunch that the post office and the bulletin board are really hot for one another.