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Lost Ritual
by Katherine Hussmann Klemp
03/29/12
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I just finished doing our income taxes. My husband, Paul, used to do them. Every year he would put off that dread task until he could delay no longer.

I can remember, more than one April 15th , having to drive the finally finished forms all the way in to the downtown Minneapolis Post Office. That was the only place I knew would be open until midnight. We needed those envelopes stamped, "April 15" in order not to pay a penalty, so off I went.

All evening, right up until the deadline, a long line of cars crawled its way to the block-long building. Out in front were uniformed postmen who would personally accept your forms. You just rolled down your car window and handed them to one of the many standing there as you inched forward in the "Procrastinator Parade." Actually, it was quite festive.

Now I do the taxes and usually have them done before the end of March, so we don't even know what the tradition is here in St Paul. Electronic submission has thinned the ranks of the paper procrastinator, so as far as I know there is no late night parade.

Sigh. Another great American tradition bites the dust.


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