I’ve written about the post office in the past.

As a youngster picking up the phone, I said, “26w1” to the operator.

That was the phone number of the Abilene post office before we had rotary phones, like anyone even remembers those.

“Post office,” the person on the other line said.

“Is Dad there?” I asked.

“Hold on and I’ll get him.”

Never mind there were several “dads” working there at the time. They just knew my voice.

I grew up with the Abilene post office.

“Dad” was the supervisor of postal operations when the postal creed was “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”

Back then we paid people to sit at a regional desk to dream up ways to make the mail delivered more efficiently.

Dad didn’t like changes to the postal service. He felt that the Abilene staff knew Abilene better than someone sitting in Washington, D.C.

Postal workers at the Chicago office spent more man hours waiting on elevators than the entire Abilene office, he used to say.

I know I have said this before but Dad got out of bed while “Good Morning America” hosts were getting their hair styled. He started sorting mail at 3:30 a.m. and by 10 a.m. he was having coffee at Steinhauser’s which was located in what is now called the post office block.

Dick Millner tells the story of a holiday shortly after he moved his family to Abilene. It was Christmas Eve when the phone rang at around 4 p.m.

“Mr. Millner, this is the post office and I noticed a large package for you here. It looks like it might be Christmas packages for your children. I was just about to leave when I saw it, and if you’re going to be home, I could run it by.”

Dad and his crew were an important part of the Abilene area community.

Mail carriers then often checked on the elderly and people living alone, often just saying “hello.” They do that still today.

A neighbor of Dad’s used to say how his nephew sent him mail addressed simply to “Uncle Bob, Brown’s Park” and he received it.

Often carriers paid the 10 cents needed for extra postage when necessary and they often got it back from the mail’s recipients.

Now, thanks to politics, we have people in Kansas thinking of ways to make the mail run less efficiently and, consequently, slower. Those are people like Charles Koch who is leading the charge in privatization of the post office. 

According to local union officials, the U.S. Postal Service has removed mail processing machines from facilities in Kansas City, Wichita and Springfield which could slow mail delivery here in town.

Under the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006, the USPS was required to pay over $5 billion annually for future retiree health benefits. It was designed to make the postal service more attractive to privatization. 

Thankfully, that ended in 2016.

I voted by mail in the last primary and will probably request an absentee ballot for the general election in November.

I have faith in the men and women that work for the United States Postal Service. They will do everything in their power to see that I receive a ballot.

And they will see that the election officials receive it, should I choose to mail it.

Sounds like the post office could use the extra $1 it takes to mail ballots. However, I will probably just drop it off at the courthouse on my way to work.

If you want to help protect our postal service, buy a sheet of stamps, and just thank your carrier the next time you see him or her. Even my 8-year-old granddaughter thanked the mailman when he handed her a package recently. That, too, makes an impact.

 

Contact Tim Horan at editor@abilene-rc.com.

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