Pam Stone | The mail came when it snowed, but that doesn’t mean I retrieved it

February 22, 2014 

“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”

So said, according to Wikipedia, the ancient Greek work of Herodotus, translated by Professor George Herbert Palmer, Harvard University, describing the Persian system of mounted postal carriers c. 500 B.C.E.

But Herodotus nailed it as I watched from the window, up the length of our nearly half-mile driveway, my rural carrier (also my farmer neighbor, Wayne) carefully chug through the snow down our narrow country lane in his late-model Explorer.

I’ve been told this is a county maintained road but I’ve rarely seen evidence of this: Most of us mow along the road in the summer unless we want to be hidden behind a bramble of honeysuckle and poison oak. When there’s a freak snowfall, as we all experienced this past week, there is no sign of sand trucks. The thick stand of pines along the street, leaving it in shade pretty much 24/7, left it impossible to turn right out of my driveway for a week.

I put my binoculars down.

“Mail’s come,” I said, with hope in my voice.

“You expecting anything?” Paul replied from his office.

“Couple of checks,” I called back, knowing this ruse.

“Then you get it,” he said, satisfaction in his voice.

“I just came in from checking on the horses and picking their stalls!”

“Then you’re all dressed for it.”

“I already took all that stuff off!”

“Well,” countered Paul. “I have a cold.”

“And I,” I said, heatedly, “had to go out and do the morning barn chores in 13-degree temperatures the morning after I was up all night with the norovirus!”

“They’re your horses. Not mine,” was his reply.

Why, I oughta ...

Looking at the luge track of a driveway before me, slicing between the two fields cloaked with a snowfall that Putin would have wept over, I declared, “This should be a new Olympic sport. Who can wear down the other, first, to actually go outside and get the stupid mail?”

In the end, neither one of us did. I felt sorry and tremendously guilty for all of Wayne’s unappreciated hard work.

Herodotus would have been appalled.

“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds,” but just try to get the receivers off their lazy butts to walk a few minutes to retrieve it!

Reach PAM STONE at pammstone@gmail.com.

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