Remembering Ted & the Post Office

Published 11:31 am Wednesday, September 2, 2020

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By Garland O. Goodwin

Remember When column


“Friend of long standing” Ted Owens has now gone to be with our Lord. This was a shock to me, as he looked to be in great health and demeanor the last time I saw him.

Ted brought his new daughter-in-law to see me at a Fabulous Fourth celebration years ago. Martha hugged me and assured Ted that she had known me since she was a little girl. She and Bruce soon had a “little Martha,” who looked like her Mom did when I first met her at Hampton Baptist Church so many years before.

I guess I had dealings with Elna before I met Ted. She helped me plan the Polk County Tour fundraisers for the Historical Association. Both she and Ted always greeted me warmly whenever our paths crossed over the years.

Ted’s recent open letter to me in the TDB was a pleasant surprise! It was typical of Ted, always appreciating the efforts of others! The feeling is mutual, Ted; my tribute to you now is just as heartfelt . . . “Enter thou into the joy of our Lord.”

Lost another acquaintance, Betty Wallace Powell, widow of my late friend Davey Powell. Davey was my best buddy during our High School years. Betty was a daughter of Ruth Wallace, a beloved member of “the Girls” gang, Aunt Mildred’s friends who gathered at Hardees on Tuesday mornings.

One of the things predicted on-line to “go away” soon is the Post Office. Really? We are all responsible for this surprising turn of events, I suppose. We have gone “paperless,” in that all of our bills are paid by direct access to our checking account. We don’t write friendly letters anymore, because it is easier to e-mail.

Fran and I still send birthday and Christmas cards, though we have cut down that mailing list by half. Fran does not like it, but I do an e-mail version of the card and it goes to about a hundred people FREE! She does a cross-stitch design each year for Christmas, and she much prefers that we send a printed copy of the card.

The Post Office is a service enshrined in the US Constitution; Ben Franklin was the first Postmaster General. Over the years, mail volume increased with the population growth. In recent years, considerable automation has helped with sorting; but a few years ago, the Asheville regional facility was shut down.

Now all the mail in Western North Carolina still goes to Asheville, then is hauled to Greenville, SC, sorted, and hauled back to Asheville for distribution to area Post Offices. An army of clerks and delivery people are still required to get all those pieces of mail to every household in the country.

In 1970, Congress transformed the Postal Service into an independent agency of the executive branch of the Federal Government. Congress also saddled the new agency with funding its employees’ retirement for 75 years up front, unlike the usual arrangement in private industry. The recent annual deficits have approximately equaled the cost of this unusual requirement.

Congress may have to step in again to keep the Postal Service alive, at least until everyone has a computer. Nearly all the young people of today have them; now THE VIRUS has made computers necessary, even for kids in elementary school!

I developed friendships with my letter carrier Debbie and the folks at the counter of the Columbus Post Office: Kelly, Susan and Michael. I first met Kelly at Sidestreet Pizza and Debbie as “Miss Cold Hands” (my name for her) stocking the freezer shelves at Bi-Lo.

Now that I live in Tryon, my letter carrier is Tina of Mill Spring. I am still trying to learn the names of the ladies who serve me in the Tryon Office; I go so seldom that it is usually a different one!