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  • Betty Girardeau

Neither Snow, Nor Rain, Nor Heat, Nor Gloom...


There is no question that the Covid-19 pandemic has wrecked havoc on every aspect of our daily lives. Each of us has tried to find comfort and solace wherever we could. And, for that reason, we have been thankful for those things that have given a sense of some kind of normalcy. One of these is the delivery of our mail. I am fortunate to have a particularly awesome mail carrier who I have gotten to know rather well in the fifteen years I have lived in Tennessee. This past year I developed a new appreciation of the work that she and other mail carriers have to do. With most of us sheltering in place we all became more dependent on mail delivery to not only keep us connected to family, friends, and those to whom we owe money, but to also fulfill our on-line orders fro everything from daily household items to Christmas gifts. The post office has been slammed, most especially this past Christmas season. My carrier frequently had to make several trips back to the local post office to pick up and deliver more mail than she could originally fit into her delivery van. Her days, and several times, her week-ends were long and harder than they had been in almost any time during her career. Christmas week she even had a heavy snow storm to complicate things. Mail delivery is something we have likely often taken for granted. To work efficiently every part of the chain, from the time a letter or package is posted at one location to when it is delivered to the recipient at another, must be strong. Sadly the pandemic and an election year with more mail in ballots than ever before tended to show some of the weaknesses in the system that had not been as obvious before. Several times I had expected and tracked deliveries delayed and one time, lost. Too many times pieces of mail were left at distribution points for extended times. Our local mail carriers are still struggling to keep up and dig out from under. Yesterday in the same mail I received two pieces of mail, one postmarked December 19 and the other January 7. Both had to travel approximately the same distance to get to my local post office and then to my mailbox. On Saturday I received my mortgage bill which was due on January 1 and had been postmarked before the middle of December. Thankfully, in that case, I knew the bill was due and how much was owed and I had taken care of that before receiving the actual bill. These are just a few personal examples of a postal system that is struggling and has obvious weaknesses that should be addressed. But I can't say enough good things about my mail carrier, who consistently goes above and beyond in her duties. My community is fortunate to have her. She truly exemplifies the post office motto: "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds." I know she is a swift as can be given the issues in the post office system at large. I would love to clone her so that all of you could have a Jenny Black, too. Thank you, Jenny, for all you do.

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