Pine Nuts: Love your postman, and postwoman
Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stopped these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds, until this winter. Last week’s Midwest deep freeze canceled mail delivery in yet another sign of changing climate.
Next to hyperactive dogs, hyperactive weather is the postman’s main adversary. Our intrepid Tahoe carrier, Carlos, has been spotted delivering mail at 8 p.m. in a snowstorm, and I’m so grateful to receive my Sierra Sun I want to venture out and hug him, but he’s already gone.
I remember a frigid day on Cape Cod back in 1979, when a postman challenged a Nor’easter on a frozen afternoon when nobody else on the Cape was out, except me.
It was a most miserable day of days, and I was lamenting having to train for the Boston Marathon in such foreboding weather, but there I was, running into the wind when that lone faithful postal worker leaped from his truck and landed on top of me. We both went to grass as the saying used to be, but there was no grass, only ice, with parcels of mail raining down around us.
We sat there, stunned, staring at each other…
“Where the blank did you come from?” he asked incredulously.
“I was about to ask you that same question,” I stammered.
We helped each other up, shook hands, and laughed, not the kind of laugh you laugh when you’re having fun, but the kind of laugh you laugh when you discover sand in your bread. His name was Stanley. I told him how impressed I was that he was braving a Nor’easter to deliver the mail, and he returned the compliment, telling me I was an idiot to be out there running on such a day as that. I remonstrated that I was training for the Boston Marathon and had no choice but to be out there every day in any kind of weather. He shrugged his shoulders and offered his sympathy, “That’s stupid.”
In spite of colliding with Stanley, that one afternoon of training saved the day, for my goal was to run Boston in under three hours and my finishing certificate would read, 2:59:59.
There were no friends to greet me at the finish line as my friends were all thinking about more important things back on the Island of Maui, but lo & behold, who was there at the finish to give me a chest bump, but Stanley himself. We hooked arms and proceeded to the first thirst parlor we came to, which was the Eliot Lounge, where pictures of previous marathon winners lined the walls. I remember we sat next to a framed photo of Rosie Ruiz, who had jumped onto a bus and cut the course to savor a very short-lived victory.
We didn’t get to see our winners there at the Eliot, Bill Rogers, 2:09:27, and Joan Benoit, 2:35:15, but we enjoyed our own company, the dedicated postal worker and the idiot. They knocked each other to the ground in a Nor’easter when nobody else on the Cape would venture out, and became friends. I’ve had nothing but respect and regard for postal workers ever since. Heck, Mark Twain once received a letter addressed to: MARK TWAIN — GOD KNOWS WHERE!
Learn more about McAvoy Layne at http://www.ghostoftwain.com.