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Piece of pie, iced tea helped make delivery job tolerablePosted Thursday, August 13, 2009, at 11:50 PM
My teeny, tiny little Grandma Gladys was a rural mail carrier for several years. She's been gone a long time now, but she jotted down a few notes about the experience in a journal that she left behind.
I'm guessing she worked that job when she was in her late teens or early 20s which would fall on a timeline in the early part of the last century.
The man she married also worked for the post office, but he worked in town.
Both of their mail delivery careers were unique, although hers was for a much shorter time. He carried the mail on foot in Worthington with a pack slung over his shoulder for over 50 years! She carried the mail on horseback! Her route was through the countryside north of Worthington.
I worked a little stint as a substitute mail carrier -- didn't take long to acquire a new appreciation for what our mail delivery people do. Through rain, through sleet, through snow is no joke.
I've never had a wreck, knock on wood, except during the time I was on that mail route.
I put the front of my car in a ditch, the back end in another, and one day turned my car over on its side in a ditch. That was back before cell phones, nobody around, had to get out and walk to a phone -- was a nice stroll on a country road until those three big black dogs came after me -- didn't know I could run that fast.
The day I had three flat tires (with no volunteer tire-changers in sight) in one 95-degree day helped to convince me I wasn't in the right job.
In the snow, I slid and knocked somebody's mailbox flat. When it rained and flooded roads, I got lost trying to get through another way somewhere near Koleen.
It wasn't all bad -- I remember one box in particular where someone frequently left a piece of homemade pie. You'd open the box up and there it would be on a china plate with a fork and a napkin. You'd sit and enjoy then put the dirty dish back in the box, along with the mail.
At another box nearby, on hot summer days, I'd open up the box to find a huge glass of tea with lots of ice.
Toward the end of the route, another box frequently had freshly-baked gingerbread cookies.
It was a hot as heck job in the summer, cold as heck in the winter. And I was in a car. I can't imagine what it was like when my grandma rode a route on a horse -- and out there all by herself.
Mail people are out there on some very back country roads, all alone with nobody around for most of their route.
This week I wrote a story about a woman who was allegedly harassing a mailman -- that was just the start of a colorful incident involving a chase that started in Linton and ended near Mineral.
Then came the comment that the police should not have chased her down for something like driving a doughnut in the police department's yard. I agree a doughnut in the yard probably isn't a good reason for a chase.
But don't forget, before the doughnut, there was that little issue of harassing one of our mail carriers while they were on their route.
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