Earlier in November the Lindsborg Post Office marked the first anniversary of mold month, the discovery of black mold in the building; thus opened a messy and trying circumstance that ultimately would lend new meaning to the term, “public service.”
The resultant post office shutdown was inconvenient and revealing. Customers with mailboxes faced the task of collecting their mail outdoors, mostly in sub-freezing temperatures while leaning into the teeth of a raw north wind sometimes laced with sleet or freezing rain. It even snowed.
This went on for two months.
As we wrote several months ago, the drive to Salina for parcels and other special mail, plus the added heavy loads during the holidays, soon lost its novelty. Friends, neighbors, colleagues pitched in to fetch mail for those who otherwise couldn’t. Other acts of kindness, random and otherwise, sprouted here and there as the days became weeks.
The postal workers performed with an alacrity and compassion that qualified them for canonization. Wind-battered every day out in that bleak north lot, they faced that line of gritty boxes, their metal gray and cold, the locks frozen, each stubborn little door a challenge. This, at times with rain coming in a steady drizzle or, on better mornings, the driving lashes of sleet, or snow stinging with each gust of wind. These postal workers, whom we know by first-name, endured a special torture back then. They kept at it without fail, stopping to help a customer fumbling with a key, or the person who had forgotten one, or the several who had forgotten which key belonged to what temporary box. And always, always with a smile. These postal workers, burdened with uncertainty and belted with brutal weather, managed mail delivery in our town with efficiency, courtesy, and the patience and manner of saints. (They still do.)
“You know, we were talking about our one-year mold anniversary just the other day,” one of them said recently. “It went on through the holidays and it wasn’t pretty,” she said. In a way, it was. This bleak chapter revealed a larger story, of the beauty in people who help others without missing a lick, as though kindness were inborn and no matter the circumstance or the challenge. They make the community a better place simply by being in it.
The old Post Office is fine these days, and the building and its people as vital and valuable as ever, a double treasure for which we again give thanks.
– JOHN MARSHALL