Monday, January 02, 2012

Postal History

My great-grandfather was a postman.  Back then, in his town, people would leave an annual "tip" of a few cents in the mailbox during December.  With that extra money he was able to buy his wife and each child their own holiday gift (gasp!) and have an entire turkey (gasp!) for the holiday dinner and leftovers.
(I think these were Christmas gifts and dinner, because even though they were Jewish back then Chanukah was a minor event talked about at synagogue without home participation, similar to Tish B'Av today.)

Today the big facts about the Federal postal service are that it needs drastic revamping, is not broke until 2013, and its praiseworthy role of inexpensively delivering rural mail is funded not by taxes but by flooding everyone with junk mail.

Oregon is about to close 21 post offices (or is it 41?) and every processing center except the big one in Portland.  I feel for those postal workers whose jobs are in jeopardy.  But I do not expect this will be a huge tragedy.  Surely private companies will appear to fill the needs of rural towns: alternate local delivery options (here in Eugene we even have a pedal-powered delivery company to help businesses with same-day local deliveries) and new services for speedily delivering mail addressed to Portland post office boxes.

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