When recalling some of the earliest memories of my youth I am brought back to times lingering by the mailbox waiting for letters from grandparents and great aunts and uncles. The art of correspondence entranced me at a young age. While I was not nearly as elegant as the writers of the Victorian or Civil War Eras it was important to me early on to capture life in writing. It always fascinated me that I could put an envelope in my mailbox and a few days later it would appear in Grandma's mailbox a thousand miles away and for only a few cents. It was magical then and to me remains so!
Regardless of all the current political rhetoric, polls show that the Postal Service is THE most trusted public agency. Not only do they NOT use any taxpayer money, they work in all kinds of inclement weather when the rest of us wouldn't dare to venture out past our own mailbox. As they walk their routes through our neighborhoods they know where every house is and who lives where. Thanks to their awareness they also often know when something in the neighborhood is awry. They're often first on the scene and first to notice a change of habit that might be a warning of an emergent situation. Letter carriers are frequently known as town heroes as they report fires, offer aid at accidents, deliver babies and are protectors of the elderly. All this while delivering those letters from loved ones, magazines and the paperwork that keeps business thriving.
These are the same brave men and women who continued to work during the anthrax scare of 2001, that took the lives of two postal clerks. Since then the USPS and the Department of Homeland Security have created a plan to thwart biological terrorism which includes the distribution of supplies such as antibiotics throughout the postal delivery network to provide Americans quick assistance without the exposure of leaving their homes or overwhelming medical facilities. While they are often unnoticed and nearly invisible to many people, I know they are heroes that walk among us. They become an important part of the pulse of our lives, our community and of our nation.
While there's a morass of information being flung around these days by politicos please don't make the mistake of thinking you don't need to pay attention to it. When communities such as Mallard lose their Post Office we need not shrug our shoulders in complacency but rather we need to realize that if the cuts go deeper eventually those measures will come to communities such as our own. And while you're reading this in today's paper take note of who delivered the newspaper to you. If you think that a few Post Offices closing doesn't affect you directly - you're wrong. Newspapers, and maybe especially in rural communities, are the defenders of our right to free speech as well as providing us with newsworthy information and the tidbits that keep our hometowns in the center of our hearts.
Take the time to educate yourself on current topics so that you are an informed citizen and next time you see a Letter Carrier give them a wave of appreciation. As for me, I'll be waiting by my mailbox now that I've joined the next generation of Grandmas awaiting the drawings that my grandchildren are sending to me -- with 44-cents and a lot of love!