Today Isabelle Albeck asked me to post this encounter she had with a Waban postal person and it got me to wondering about our home mail delivery that most of us take for granted. “This morning, a week after the last storm, I noticed the mailman walking along Chestnut St (near the corner of Fuller). I also noticed that particular house had a very clean driveway. When I commented on this stage of sidewalks, the mailman said there were other places along Chestnut St (towards Beacon St) where he has to step into the roadway as a stretch of sidewalk is impassable. It seems to me those owners ought to not get mail. Let them go to the post office! Would they like to walk on busy streets like Chestnut St? What are they thinking?“
I know you’re all conjuring up that oft quoted saying: “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds”. FAKE NEWS ALERT! Directly from the mouth of the USPS Historian October 1999, on the USPS website, I quote:
“While the Postal Service has no official motto, the popular belief that it does is a tribute to America’s Postal workers. The words above, thought to be the motto, are chiseled in gray granite over the entrance to the New York City Post Office on 8th Avenue and come from Book 8, Paragraph 98, of The Persian Wars by Herodotus. During the wars between the Greeks and Persians (500-449 B.C.), the Persians operated a system of mounted postal couriers who served with great fidelity. The firm of McKim, Mead & White designed the New York General Post Office, which opened to the public on Labor Day in 1914. One of the firm’s architects, William Mitchell Kendall, was the son of a classics scholar and read Greek for pleasure. He selected the “Neither snow nor rain . . .” inscription, which he modified from a translation by Professor George Herbert Palmer of Harvard University, and the Post Office Department approved it.”
While I believe that our Postal deliverers serve today, as did the Persians of old, with great fidelity, I also wonder if they are under any legal/moral obligation to deliver your mail tomorrow on your slippery unshoveled walkway…and if you aren’t under a clear legal/moral obligation to shield them from being forced into a busy street to skirt around your failed snow removal duty? Whatchathink?