The mail was late today and I plumb took umbrage at this disruption of my regular schedule. It usually comes late in the morning, and when it doesn’t, my routine is off-balance the whole rest of the day. I say and think bad words.
I know there was probably a good reason for the delay–the cute little buggy broke down, or someone was off and my mail person had to do a double shift, or the cute buggy was attacked by a vicious pickup, or something. But after my third or fourth trip to an empty mail box, I got aggravated. Put somp’n in the pot, boy.
Frosty will say, “Well, maybe we just didn’t get any mail today.” Hogwash. No catalogs? No great deals from Haband? No chances of becoming a billionaire? Don’t give me that. On the once-in-a-year day when there really is no mail, I’ll scream at Frosty, “Well, subscribe to something!”
As the patriarch of Gold Hill has said many times, and as I have always thought, being a rural mail carrier must be about the perfect job. You get to know the people on your route. They bring you fruit and vegetables and goodies. You see the seasons change, the plowing and planting in the spring, the growing in the summertime, the coming of fall, from the first red sourwood leaves, to the burnished gold of the hickories late in the fall.
Even the winters are beautiful in their own barren way. Drawbacks? Probably, but don’t tell me. I don’t want to know.
Mr. Pennington was the first mail carrier I remember. He drove a Chevy. The first post-war car I saw was Mr Christian’s ‘46 white Ford. What a marvel! We’d watch for him. Living in the country, we got our newspaper through the mail. The Birmingham Post. I’d grab it and spread it out on the floor and start analyzing the baseball box scores — as soon as I’d peeked at Alley Oop and Red Ryder and L’il Abner and Our Boarding House, et al.
Uncle Kelley was a substitute mail carrier, and he worked pretty often. Sometimes he’d let me ride with him. I don’t think they allow that now, but it was great fun. I helped him get out of a swollen creek one time when his Plymouth flooded out right in the middle of it.
A big day on the rural route was the day the catalogs came. The Sears & Roebuck and Montgomery Ward tomes would have the back of Mr. Christian’s car dragging the ground.
People in town had boxes at the post office. All right, I guess. They’d met their friends there every day about the same time, kind of a social gathering. But it was not the same as the anticipation of seeing the mail carrier’s car go by Grandma’s. Then you knew it wouldn’t be long.
I keep hearing this trash about how much trouble the Post Office is in, and about cutting services, and about cutting out Saturday delivery, I’m a relatively newcomer to Auburn, but even I can remember when we had, get this, TWO-A-DAY mail delivery service.
I don’t expect that. But once a day? Certainly. Cut the crap. Give the Post Office whatever it needs, and keep them cards and letters … and junk mail … coming.
Bob Sanders is a veteran local radio personality, columnist, author and raconteur of note.