Lantana Town Manager Mike Bornstein says he got a pretty good laugh when he found out the hundreds of coconuts he'd mailed to Postmaster General John E. Potter had been given away to homeless shelters. "We were imagining the cafeteria at the shelter handing each poor homeless person a big coconut on a plate. They clearly didn't realize how much work it is to open a coconut. You burn more energy getting into it than you'd ever get out of it."
Bornstein, with the help of a bunch of schoolkids and neighborhood residents, had mailed hundreds of coconuts to Washington to protest the closing of the Lantana Post Office. "There's an old legend about the barefoot mailmen," says Bornstein. "You know they had to walk up and down the beaches carrying a heavy mail sack. Their friends would play a practical joke on them and send coconuts addressed to somebody through the mail. The mailman's bag would be full of coconuts, and as you know, they're pretty heavy."
The old legend came into play again last month when Bornstein and area history buffs heard that the Lantana Post Office was on the list of federal POs slated to be shut down. They decided the best way to send a message to Washington would be to address and send hundreds of coconuts to the Postmaster General.
The coconuts made it there just fine. Message received, Bornstein says.
There's more than nostalgia involved: Lantana residents really do need their own post office. The nearest PO, in Lake Worth, is miles away. "We've got elderly people; we've got a self-sustaining group of businesses and residences here that rely on having easy access to the postal service," Bornstein says.
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But he doesn't yet know the final fate of the Lantana PO. "It's a tough uphill path to even find out what the status is," he says. "These guys play their cards pretty close to their chest."