LIFE IN OUR MOUNTAIN TOWN: The joys of the post office | SierraSun.com
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LIFE IN OUR MOUNTAIN TOWN: The joys of the post office

Katie Shaffer, Sierra Sun Columnist

There are many reasons why making a stop at the downtown post office to check our mail is one of my favorite errands.

First of all, you are almost sure to run into someone you know. But even on those occasions when you recognize no one, there’s always the trusty postal workers behind the counter, who I think have quite a pulse on what’s going on in the community.

The information that can get passed along to you while buying stamps at the counter can be invaluable, like the time I was informed that the lines over at the bank were a mile long that day. It was the day that SierraWest Bank was changing over to become Bank of the West, and apparently lots of people had high-tailed it over to the post office, sending up the alert that banking should be saved for another day.

I remember appreciating the warning, and taking comfort in finding someone else who also was having trouble calling the old Truckee River Bank SierraWest Bank, and now we had another new name to contend with.

Other times, the information that’s offered can be just plain interesting.

About a year ago, someone standing next to me in line told me that the thick smoke that was hanging over town had blown in from a fire burning up by Quincy. When my turn came to be helped at the counter, one of the postal workers leaned over and let me know that he had been told earlier by someone who works for the CDF that the smoke was actually blowing in from a fire burning down by Yosemite. You kind of feel privileged to be getting the scoop, whether it’s accurate or not.

Where else can you find out immediately who has died in town, and where and when their funeral service is being held, thanks to the postings on both exits by the local mortuary?

And since I am not especially diligent at checking my box on a daily basis, I will often find the box so tightly stuffed that a real task lies in prying my mail out of the box. Getting those first couple of pieces out can be tough, a situation that I find amusing although I suppose someone else might find this frustrating.

I have a friend who also enjoys getting his mail at the post office over the other options that are now available (either rural delivery to a box at the end of your driveway or the cluster boxes if you live in Tahoe Donner).

During a conversation about the merits of getting our mail at the post office, he confided in me that what he really takes the greatest pleasure in is flicking a piece of mail that is addressed to a different box number back through the mailbox so that it lands on the floor of the mailroom. The pleasure, he claims, is all in the flick.

Other postal customers who are more courteous take the time to carry the misdelivered mail back around to the window.

No matter how you look at it, choosing to receive your mail at the post office is not the most convenient way to get your mail. But to me, it’s a part of my life here in Truckee that I treasure and enjoy.

Katie Shaffer has lived in Truckee with her family since 1981.


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