I ran across a note describing a different take on mail delivery in Florida.

The method didn’t surprise me, but that the Post Office people would embrace it does.

Whether deserved or not, the postal system has a reputation of being short on flexibility. If you need to know that a letter is working its way in the right direction, you can opt for tracing but that is extra.

It still takes an inordinately long time for a post card or envelope to get across town or across the state. Things were better, it seemed, when we had good old-fashioned trains hauling the mail.

Somewhere between the locomotive and caboose there was a mail car and a couple of clerks sorting mail all day riding down the tracks.

A retired postal clerk told me that sorting mail was a never-ending process. They dropped off a bag of mail at each town and snagged a new one without stopping. As soon as they got a new bag they broke the seal and started sorting. On the round trip they dropped off what was sorted so there was a steady stream of mail into the local post office.

My father made two trips to the post office in Alma, Ga., because there was the “morning mail” and the “evening mail.”

In some places mail is still delivered by foot.

Washington, Kansas, is not a large town but mail is still delivered by a letter carrier on foot. I’ve wondered how many miles they walk each day but can’t catch up with them to ask.

Bicycle delivery is attempted in places where the land is flat and the boxes are on the street. The “postie” can slide mail into the box without having to climb down.

I saw a picture of a “mail bicycle” and it was really a tricycle. I supposed that makes more sense in that a three-wheeler is more stable and not likely to tip over when you walk away from it.

A few decades ago some grocery stores and drug stores used bicycles for delivery. The bike was more robustly built than recreational bikes. The front wheel was smaller than the rear and there was a large basket.

Last week I saw a van with the name of a popular grocery store printed on the side. The driver was headed to the front door with two bags.

When I can easily find what I need, I shop locally; but when that doesn’t work I do some internet shopping. The idea of driving across town to shop for something is a “no-go item” now.

The Kansas Woman has a few plants that help balance out the deer’s diet and hanging aluminum pie pans didn’t slow them down.

I ordered a bottle of hot stuff, pure capsicum, the ingredient that makes peppers hot. This I will mix with some water and hose down her plants.

We’ll see how they like the hydrangeas dosed with hot sauce.

Joe Phillips writes his “Dear me” columns for several small newspapers. He has many connections to Walker County, including his grandfather, former superintendent Waymond Morgan. He can be reached at joenphillips@hotmail.com.

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