The Post Office at the North Pole
Last Monday, on my third trip to the Post Office, I stood in line wondering how many more trips I would be making to our local USPS before the day was over. My mind was going through its list of things that would be demanded of it before it would be allow to rest. Somewhere from the haze of daydreaming, I thought I heard the lady at the counter say, "We don't get that many packages sent there. It cost a lot of money and it will take about two weeks, but we can get it there before Christmas."
I stopped for just a moment, shook my head, and went back to my mental "to do" list. My ears perked up again, when the lady behind the counter said, "That will be $125.00. I know it is expensive, but the North Pole is a long way from here."
Well, everywhere is a long way from Banner Elk, NC, but $125 for a small box. Waiting my turn, I starting wondering. "Can you really send a package to the North Pole or was this some kind of inside joke?"
When I made my way to the counter, I casually said, "I wasn't trying to eavesdrop, but it sounded like the lady in front of me was sending a package to the North Pole. "Umm hmmm," was her response.
Not to be dismissed, I asked, "You can't really send a package to the North Pole can you?"
"Yep," the uniformed government employee said without looking up.
"But," I paused choosing my words carefully, "who lives at the North Pole?" Now I fully understand that I had just pitched the slowest ball in the history of sarcastic setups, but I was willing to take the chance. "She looked up for just a moment, and said, "I am sorry sir, but that is proprietary information. I am not allowed to divulge that kind of information."
I was treading on new ground here. I had never heard of any laws governing mailer/mailee confidentiality, but the mail lady did not seem like one to suffer ignorance of the law from any of her customers.
I knew when I had been beaten so I went home and took my questions to the worldwide web - the source of all information, and the keeper of answers to all questions. And just that easily, I found my answer. The North Pole is actually located in the middle of the Arctic Ocean, and is usually covered by moving sheets of flowing ice. "Ha," I thought. You can't send a package to the North Pole." I was vindicated!
And then, I read further. The Canadian Postal service had given the North Pole the mailing code of HOH OHO (surprisingly similar to HO, HO, HO).
I was about to give up on the seasonal mystery, and I thought about one other option. I looked up North Pole, USA. And there it was. There is a town - North Pole, Alaska, located somewhere in the eastern center of the state. Apparently, this is the Post Office and zip code used by Santa Clause (99705). Hundreds of thousands of letters are sent to this town every year addressed to Santa Clause.
I ended the day with as many questions as I had answers. Apparently thousands of people send letters, and at least one person sends packages to North Pole, Alaska (99705 - zip code) each year. The question is how many letters are delivered to zip code HOH OHO?