As you have gathered through all these years, remembering times gone by is often a subject of this column, as well as a subject of discussions among friends. Several times lately, we have talked about the U.S. Mail service and the many changes we have witnessed through the years.
Back in the Dark Ages, when postage stamps were only three cents, we could mail a letter from here to El Paso one day and know it would be delivered the next day in pristine condition. Actually, we could send and receive letters to many areas and expect next-day service. We could even send mail here in town and know it would be received the next day or even on the same day it was sent.
Because letter writing has been one of my favorite tasks since I first began to put pencil to paper, I have sort of noted the changes that have occurred through the years. Although, I wasn’t around during Pony Express days, I read about the dependability of the mail delivery and the care taken in seeing that letters and other items went from place to place as fast as those horses could lope or even run. I did watch it come by car to the Ima Post Office and saw it arrive fairly early in the morning from Montoya or Cuervo and then stop on the return trip rather late in the afternoon after having gone to House and places in between.
Here in town, in the event we didn’t get to the post office in time to be sure a letter would arrive in El Paso the next day, we would take it to the mail box at the depot and know it would be picked up there, sorted in the mail car, and delivered the next day. We would even send baked items to Mother’s young sister in El Paso and know she would receive it in good form the next day. Of course, we also sent mail in all directions from here by train, bus, or truck. We could depend on most of our mail being delivered almost any where in the United States in a week or less.
Now, we can’t be sure that mail will be delivered the next day in town and know it surely won’t be delivered the next day in El Paso or almost any other destination. For instance, I send letters fairly often to a destination a little more than a three-hour drive from here and can hope they will arrive untattered within three or four days. Letters to Amarillo can also take as many as three days to be delivered.
Several friends have mentioned that I wouldn’t have so much frustration were I to give up traditional lefter-writing and start using e-mail. Well, as most of you know, I have always been a little slow to change habits. What would Prissy and I do if we couldn’t walk to the mail box to find letters from friends or even junk mail? What would I do if I couldn’t have the pleasure of opening those envelopes, unfolding the pages, and reading letters from good friends?
Let’s just be glad we still have a mail system, even one we tend to complain about. We can be unpopular customers, ask questions, and spend far more than three cents to send a letter across town or across the nation. We can most definitely enjoy the real friendship that exists among pen-pals!
Lynn Moncus is a Tucumcari resident and can be contacted through the Quay County Sun by calling 461-1952.