© B. Radisavljevic
Delivering mail today is much different than it used to be -- especially in urban areas. Mail carriers, who are often women now, usually drive rather than walk. They deliver mail to communal boxes about two blocks apart and everyone walks or drives to them to pick up their mail. The mail person puts the mail into the individual boxes from the backside just like postal employees in the post offices put mail into post office boxes. Those of us in neighborhoods are lucky if we even see our mail carriers.
This photo shows one of those older neighborhood mailboxes a couple of blocks from me. The individual boxes lock and each resident gets a key. Larger packages are delivered to the door. I did, in fact, take a package from the hand of my mail carrier yesterday. I saw her park her truck in front of our house and met her on her way to the door. I thanked her.
Thanking a mail carrier is a bit harder when you hardly ever see him or her. Many just do their jobs like any other person and go home at the end of the day. Others go above and beyond their jobs. I'm going to tell you about one of our rural mail carriers who did just that. He was our first mailman in Templeton. I would not have this mailbox were it not for him.
© B. Radisavljevic
We used to have an ordinary size mailbox here that was much smaller. I was in a business where I received many packages. Many were too small to fit in my mailbox and the mailman had to drive up the hill to the house to deliver them. Then the powers that be changed something about the mail trucks that made it important for the boxes to be higher up for mail to be delivered. Neither my husband nor I could raise the mailbox onto a higher pole. My husband was disabled.
My mailman offered to install a new larger box at the right height if we would get one. So I got the one you see above. It holds a lot of mail and small packages. We don't get so many of those anymore since I stopped selling books, but we still appreciate this box and the mailman who made it possible for us to use it.
But that's not even the best thing he did for us. His alertness saved me from identity theft. A rural mail carrier pretty much knows if someone is living on the premises and getting mail. They see signs like cars at the house when they deliver packages and letters that need to be signed. They often are putting mail in the box when you are entering or leaving your driveway. They also can tell when someone appears to be moving. We weren't.
One day our mailman came up to the house with the mail and asked me if we were moving . He said someone had put in an internet order to have our mail forwarded to another address. He said he was pretty sure we were still there and wanted to check before actually forwarding our mail. I think he suspected someone was trying to steal our identity. When we verified we were still there, he reversed the order and the crook did not get our mail.
Our mailman retired many years ago. I don't know who carries our mail there now, because there is rarely an occasion to see him or her. I would like to think all mail carriers are as alert and concerned as my old one was. I know that all of them work hard.
It used to be easy to thank your mail carrier when he actually carried the mail to your house every day and dropped it in your box. During my childhood our mailman was someone we saw at church every Sunday, and his daugher was a friend of mine. Some days when he had a few extra minutes he would chat with my mom or even come in for a cup of coffee. It was easy for Mom to give him some baked goodies. Now about all we can do is leave a thank you note in the mailbox.
Did you do anything special for your mail carrier today? Or were you, like me, not even aware of this day in time to plan for it.