Well, everyone always did want a white Christmas. And boy did we get some white! I think I shoveled the driveway four times. And being the good Canadian boy I am, I shoveled the ice rink in the yard first. Skates before cars.
I saw the big news from Canada Post over the weekend. Individual door-to-door mail delivery to end! What !?
The end of an era, the end of the bottomless source of “Postie” jokes, of “going Postal”, of sidelong glances as your kid starts to resemble the good looking guy in shorts that comes by every day…..But also the end of the era where seniors, shut in their home, look forward to a fleeting moment of brief human contact when the mail carrier comes by. Such is Progress…. (will kids now email Santa?)
So in honour of the letter that you might not ever get. Here is a list of alternatives you might use.
1. Carrier pigeon – used during war to transmit messages. As early as the 6th century B.C. in Persia, right up to the second World War. More incredibly pigeons were used to transport medicine bettween two British hospitals up until – get this – 1983! Want to know why they stopped? Because one of the hospitals shut down.
2. Dog sled – granted a little more difficult to use here in the sunny south (only -10 Celsius today), but in the far north postmen used dog sled to meet their appointed rounds. The last mail run by dog was as late as 1963.
3. Pony Express – Many a Hollywood movie was made about the Pony Express. Mail was delivered coast to coast in just 10 days. It was dangerous work in those days. The service only lasted 18 months, but the myths and lore will last forever. Well after ponies were put out to pasture the Pony Express logo was used by Wells Fargo, the stagecoach company. And yes, it is the same Wells Fargo that today is the largest Bank in the United States.
5 runners – “Runner” were originally men who had the dangerous job of taking messages between Fronts during a war. Adolf Hitler was a runner in the first world war – and was injured twice. The most famous “Runner” was the legendary Greek messenger Pheidippides running from Marathon to Athens with news of the victory. This is of course is the inspiration for the Marathon, introduced at the 1896 Athens Olympics, and originally run between the town of Marathon and Athens. (by the way, it is thought to be historically inaccurate, but a good story nevertheless).
So who is the most famous mailman? Hmmmm, well all I could think of was the (in)famous Cliff Clavin from Cheers.
BTW: the postman’s creed which is over the U.S. Postal Office is a translation from ancient greek text describing the Persian system of mounted couriers from 500 B.C.
Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds…..