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Don't Mess With the Postal Service

I keep reading where some empty suits in government want to defund or otherwise eviscerate the post office. They must be living in some alternate universe other than the one I’m in, because I think we need the post office more than ever. For my money, it’s the best deal in town. I think we should quit giving foreign aid to some of those countries that hate us, give the money to the post office, and let it do its job, which is to handle around 660 million pieces of mail each day, or around 47 percent of the world’s total.  


Where else can you send something coast to coast for 55 cents and expect it to get there? Try that in some other country. Send some cash south of the border and see what happens. Good luck with that. I’ve been using the post office for 70 years, and I can’t recall that they ever lost even one item that I mailed. I do remember going for two years without getting a letter, when not even the Publisher’s Clearing House would waste a stamp on me, but that was all my fault.  


To be honest, I did get one letter during that time – from the Lamar County Draft Board in Purvis, ordering me to report to Jackson for an induction physical or face prosecution. The problem was that I had been overseas on a ship for two years since I was 17, and they didn’t even know it. I always suspected that they were after me because I had several relatives who claimed conscientious objector status for “religious” reasons during World War II, and somebody on the Board remembered it.


Anyway, they didn’t send me a ticket to Jackson; I didn’t show up; and there’s probably a warrant out there somewhere for my arrest. My wife laughs at me: every month, during all my years in the Navy and Marine Corps, I paid my bills with post office money orders. I still do, and my money arrives on time.  Checks are so “déclassé.”


Some of those post office deconstructionists, in their ivory towers, with their extended families, big bank accounts, and their 500 channels on satellite TV, don’t realize that there’re literally millions of old, poor, socially and geographically isolated people out there in Possum Trot America, living in internet deserts, for whom the daily visit of the mailman or mailwoman is their only contact with the outside world. If you don’t believe it, just follow the rural mail carrier’s vehicle and watch who comes to the mailbox. Even if all they receive that day is a friendly wave, at least somebody has acknowledged that they were alive. And if the bills and catalogs pile up in their mailbox, it’s probably the mail carrier who will knock on their door and see if they are okay. Don’t even ask me how I feel about eliminating Saturday mail delivery.


In many small towns, the post office is the center of activity, where you go to see and to be seen. Often, it’s the most impressive building in town, as it certainly is in my hometown of Lumberton. People have often wondered how that little city rated such a grand building, and the reason goes back to the 1930s and ‘40s when Lumberton was the center of a major mail order pecan tree seedling business. Orders were sent all over the nation, and the volume was such that a large post office was required to process and mail the trees.

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