Today is February 4th, and it’s National Thank A Mailman Day. It is an opportunity to leave a little something special in your mailbox for your letter carrier, thanking them for bringing your mail to your house six days a week – or seven, in some areas.
Being married to a rural mail carrier, I have learned a few things about delivering mail that most people don’t think about….
Occasionally, the truck from the distribution center is late. Sometimes it’s REALLY late. That could be one reason why your mail arrived later than normal. Or maybe your rural carrier had a flat tire; perhaps he had to wait for his wife to bring him a new tire because the spare got shredded, too. Or maybe the transmission in his car suddenly gave up the ghost. Or perhaps his poor little car got high-centered on the ridge of ice in front of your neighbor’s mailbox and no amount of digging freed it. There are a bazillion things that can happen to delay progress. Please be patient – he’s doing his best!
Trash pickup day can be challenging. Sometimes people place their dumpsters directly in front of their mailboxes. It can be gently nosed out of the way if it’s empty, but not when it’s full.
Every now and then, the rural carriers are asked by the Dept. of Wildlife to record the number of a specific animal they see while out on the route. I think most postal workers have a thing for numbers, so counting critters is right up their alley! Prairie chickens, jack rabbits, pheasants…depends on the time of year, I suppose. I’m not sure that Some Postman has ever been asked to count skunks, however.
When it snows, many times your rural carrier must drive on past your mailbox without making a delivery. Sure, the blade operator has cleared the road, but in the process, he’s left a tall ridge of hard-packed snow along the edge of the road, including the path in front of your mailbox. Not many carriers drive a monster truck, so it’s impossible for them to get close enough to your box unless you shovel that mound away. And no, he can’t just get out of the car and walk to the mailbox. He’s got 500 other houses to which he must deliver the mail. Can you imagine how long it would take him to finish his route if he had to do that for everyone?
Most mailmen (and women) carry mace. The rural carriers also carry dog biscuits. There are several dogs on Some Postman’s route that recognize his car and chase it until he stops to deliver a biscuit into their drooling mouths.
Did you know that a rural carrier’s vehicle is a mobile post office? You can purchase stamps, request a package pickup, set up a temporary hold on your mail, or even weigh your letter to see if it needs extra postage. If your carrier can’t provide you with exactly what you need today, he’ll have it for you tomorrow.
Remember to thank your postman or woman today for their dedication and service. They are part of the “background” that keeps everyday business going!