Snowy weather affects mail, life

Friday, January 14, 2011

If a Postal Service letter carrier can't get to a mailbox at the end of a driveway because snow was pushed to the post, the delivery isn't required.

That's what Lewisburg Postmaster Fran Zeller said Wednesday afternoon when deliveries were returning to normal. Monday, about 85 percent of postal patrons in Marshall County got mail from the Post Office in Lewisburg.

So, what about that saying?

"Neither snow nor rain not heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds," is what's on the main Post Office in New York City.

"It is not an official motto, but people think it is," Zeller said.

Meanwhile, at Verona-Caney Gardens, proprietor Patsy Black says, "No one is actually coming out on snowy days." Her daughter, Rose Harrington at Harrington's Landscapes, says they can clear sidewalks and driveways.

They might even clear snow from a mail box, but pretty soon, with moisture from the snow, it will be a good time to plant trees, shrubs and other plants that are dormant.

Such timeless practices stand, while the mistaken motto is really a description of the Persian system of mounted postal messengers, according to a series of history books written between 450 and 420 BC.

America's postal service doesn't have a motto or creed and Zeller dryly observes, "Things that happen when we have snow... I had to pull vehicles out of the ditch all day long on Monday and Tuesday.

"Each carrier has approximately 800 deliveries," the postmaster said. "Because one road is clear doesn't mean all the roads are clear and ... they all need to be back here by 5 p.m. so they're not out in the dark.

"I'm getting calls, 'Are you delivering today?' The carrier has to have the discretion on whether they're going to deliver to some places. If one says an entire road is inaccessible, I could go out there and I check... We had 98.9 percent of the mail delivered on Tuesday."

The Marshall County Shopper didn't go out on Monday. It was to be delivered Thursday. Zeller got complaints about that.

"'Come on,'" she said she told callers. "'We're trying to get your checks to you... We're doing all we can."

At Rose's Landscapes, Harrington said, "We have had calls from customers with down limbs, but we can't get to them, so we'll wait until the weather clears."

And like some farmers with orchards that have fruit on the limbs, "Occasionally, if we have something in bloom, we might water them down to keep them from freezing, but our work is more landscaping," Harrington said. "Most of the plants outside will be fine. "If the plants are covered by the snow, "I would not spray ... snow will protect them.

"With boxwoods now, people may see them split down the middle, so if you have a plant that's 3-4 feet tall or taller, knock the snow off them," she said. "If you have the weight on the boxwood, they could have limbs broken from the weight."