For 30 years my Dad walked his beat delivering mail to businesses along Baltimore’s busy Belair Road and to the families who lived on multiple side streets. Yes, in all kinds of weather, as described in the familiar saying, and yes, he walked. He began his day by rolling out of bed before 5 and driving across town to Raspeburg Post Office. At 6, he was on his feet, racking his mail to be delivered.
His families and business owners became friends to the point that our family knew many of them by name and followed the important events in their lives with a level of interest and concern normally accorded our own neighbors and relatives.
Physically, he was well equipped for such a job. Blessed with a stocky, muscular build, he grew up on a farm, and in his youth played baseball and ran on the cross country team for his school in rural Albemarle County, Virginia.
He also sang bass in choirs for most of his life. Anyone who does that knows the special joy of singing the music that comes with the Christmas season. But to him, Christmas was a mixed blessing, bringing extra pay for overtime hours but bulging his worn leather bag with greeting cards and packages, and loading him with long, exhausting hours of work. It’s fair to say that he was glad to see the season end.
I think of him and others who deliver our mail as I sit to write Christmas cards to mail to our friends. I will always appreciate those who deliver our mail. Conditions for letter carriers might have improved over my Dad’s day, but this year, we’re trimming our Christmas card list down a bit just the same. Every little bit helps.