Thursday morning, we received an email from Sanford “Sam” Low, the Oak Bluffs photographer (and author of “Hawaiki Rising”). He asked us to join a “flash crowd” at the Oak Bluffs post office. “Be there by 11:25,” it said, “So we can begin singing at 11:30.”
Every year the people of Oak Bluffs gather to celebrate Christmas and the dedicated and friendly staff at the Oak Bluffs Post Office by singing “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.” Because the post office boxes open right into the post office’s work area — many sing right into their boxes, creating a three dimensional blanket of voices.
This year was no different: residents gathered and sang from sheets Mr. Low had printed out. Thea Hanson sang into the window where residents usually do postal business. Tom Dresser gathered with another man and sang into the boxes numbered in the 700’s. Attorney Dick Walton mixed his voice with others near the mail sorting table. A poodle tied to the light pole outside the glass doors wagged his tail.
Postmaster Paul Leonard came out from behind the counter smiling, took pictures, sang along, and thanked everyone.
Within five minutes, the flash crowd had gathered their parcels and their mail, smiled at each other, and went off to keep caroling at home home.