Lynn Alliston sounds like he's telling a riddle. "It's the first thing you see when you come to a house. You barely notice it, even though it's a reflection of the entire home."

And then he delivers the punchline: "That's why we care so much about every mailbox in every Reynolds neighborhood."

At first, you might think Lynn is pouring on the syrupy persuasion. A mailbox? It's a wood post, sunk halfway into the Georgia clay, with a metal envelope holder on top, and he wants us to believe this is the getaway to beauty and Reynolds?

Slow down. Look around. The mailboxes are as flawless as picket fences. So are the street signs and the lampposts.

"If they weren't perfect, you'd notice," says Maintenance Technician Norman Coleman. He's right. Norman and Lynn are responsible for making sure you don't notice. An hour ago, Norman was taking one of his daily rides around Reynolds and something made him literally stop in his tracks: a blemish. A street sign had been freshly, ever-so-slightly, damaged. Norman didn't fill out a report at the shop or wait for someone else to report the scratch to him. He pulled over. He grabbed an armload of tools from the back of his truck, took the entire sign apart, and put it back together. Then he swept up the pieces of a car's side view mirror and made sure everything in sight looked perfect again.

"I saw some footprints," Norman says, "so I'll give the person credit for trying to fix the sign. It happens"

Norman and Lynn are masters at fixing everything they cut, sand, putty, paint, and build. When asked to estimate how many mailboxes they've planted around Reynolds, they say 3,000 is about right. Every new home gets a new box, and occasionally an existing box starts to rust or gets dinged by a bumper. The mailbox guys are first on the scene.

"We take pride in matching the quality of the mailboxes and signs to the standards that Members expect throughout the property," Lynn says. "We don't slap on a coat of paint or go to a big box store and buy prefab mailbox kits. We do it all by hand to get it just right."

I need to see this for myself. On a Tuesday morning, I walk through their shop to a just-finished mailbox post that's leaning against a workbench. Norman sees me start to grab it like you'd grab a beach umbrella before slinging it over a shoulder.

"I wouldn't recommend that," he advises.

The hand-crafted post, like the stack of five others next to it, is as impeccable as a giant matchstick. You'd never guess it weighs 80 pounds.

"It's a process," Norman says. "Once we put them in the ground, they're part of the landscape.

"And if you hit one," Lynn adds, resisting the temptation to tell specific stories, "your car will know it."

These days Lynn creates curb appeal. In the late 1970s, he helped create Lake Oconee. As a teenager, he built concrete forms for Wallace Dam. "I remember sitting on top of the dam when we finished it and watching water start to fill the lake. I never dreamed there would be a place like Reynolds here."

Normal is also a lifetime local. Before this job, he was the general manager of a company where he oversaw 60 employees, maintained accounts, and balanced hundreds of expectations, including his own. He realized he'd rather exceed expectations while working outside.

"I know how important it is to do a job well without being told what to do," he says, which explains why he and Lynn tour the roads of Reynolds every day with pickaxes and post-hole diggers. Perfection is the standard. Mystery is the goal.

"Ideally, people won't even notice us doing our work," Lynn says, "they'll only notice the results."

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