There are surprises around every turn as a rural mail carrier.
There’s always something new in store for a rural mail carrier.
Ihave delivered mail in eastern Kentucky for the past 33 years. I started straight out of high school, and I think it’s a wonderful job. Each day is memorable.
I look forward to seeing friendly faces along my route. There’s a myth that dogs and mail carriers don’t get along, but the doggies on my route love me. One dog, named Bandit, meets me at the gate with his toy almost every day. I take a few moments out of my busy schedule to play fetch with him.
If a dog is missing, I keep a lookout. I’ve even taken a few back to their owners. The best rescue has to be Woogie. I’m not sure how he got lost, but he recognized my car, so I held my door open and told him to get in if he wanted to go home. With no hesitation, Woogie, a Chihuahua, jumped into my car and onto my husband’s lap, and off we went. When pulling into the driveway, his owner’s grandkids yelled, “Hey, look! Woogie is in the mail car!”
Delivering mail in the country has challenges, too. Weather can be a big factor, especially in the winter, but the animals are where the real difficulties come from, like having to watch out for chickens running loose everywhere.
In one holler, I have to fight with the horses to reach the mailboxes. They can be very stubborn, so I try to inch forward with my car and gently encourage them to move out of the way.
Back when I first started the job, my uncle Otis would wait for me at his mailbox. He’d ask me to help herd cattle from one side of the road to the other. So I’d park my car as a barrier and we would walk them across to the other pasture.
One morning, I spotted a mother duck and her babies trying to cross. I flashed my lights and slowed the other drivers down so they could safely make it across.
During summer, I get vegetables straight out of the garden. During Christmas, I get candy, pumpkin rolls and nut breads. One customer leaves me a little something when he takes a notion to bake. I truly love these small surprises.
The people on my route are some of the best in the world. When someone is out in their yard, I greet them with a smile and a hello. They are more like family than customers, and I’m proud to do my part to help the community.
Melinda looks forward to seeing friendly faces, like Woogie (below), on her mail route.