That guy or girl that comes to your house six days a week, 52 weeks a year and leaves envelopes in your mailbox and you kind of take for granted...well, today is the day to say thanks.

My dad is retired now, but he was a mailman and he dealt with some crazy things on his daily route that most of us never think about. He delivered mail in rural Nebraska for over twenty years, and that involved a few sunny days, but also a lot of rain, mud, snow, and slick roads.  And grumpy customers got on his case occasionally, and squirrels and various other forms of wildlife would run across his path.  Having the mail show up in the box every day is a convenience that we expect, and we gripe if it's an hour late.  But sometimes the mail carrier climbs over a snowdrift to put it in the box, and the least we could do is say thanks.

The US Postal Service always reminds us at Christmas that postal workers can't take cash, and they can't accept gifts that are over $20 in value. And a mail carrier can't receive a gift total that's more than $50 during any calendar year so we'll have to keep track.  My dad always collected a lot of homemade cookies and fudge from customers, and my sister and I usually ate most of the sweets before he got to them.  We left the bags of peanuts for him.

Today (February 4th) is National Thank a Mail Carrier Day, and in addition to leaving treats in the mailbox, you can give your mail carrier a shout out on social media using #ThankAMailCarrierDay.  It might not get a thousand likes, but it could also be more interesting than a picture of a seltzer or a burrito.  I guess it's all relative.

The earliest mail carriers known as Pony Express riders had a motto that said:  "Neither rain, nor snow, nor death of the night, can keep us from our duty".  Holy cow!  If more people had that attitude at work we might get more accomplished.

I remember my dad talking about all of the memorizing he had to do to learn the route and associate names with addresses. The amount of data that he crammed into his brain really should have earned him a bonus degree of some kind. The mind of a mail carrier is pretty much a map, and he can tell by getting to a certain street at 11 am whether or not he'll be on time for the rest of the day.  Every box is an accomplishment.

So thank, mail carriers!  You do things every day that we totally take for granted, and we want you to know you are appreciated.  Enjoy the fudge.

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