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Small, Great Things

Consider this column a love letter to mail carriers. Without them, you wouldn�t be holding this magazine.

Each month, half a million Kentucky Livings get delivered to co-op members and other subscribers in the 120 Kentucky counties, as well as the other 49 states.

We work hard on the mailing list. It gets sorted in precise, complicated ways. We do that because we get lower postal rates by following those rules. Those rules allow lower rates because they make work easier for those delivering the magazines, through sorting techniques like �walk sequencing.�

We�re glad to get the discounts, and we�re glad to make life easier on the carriers. They provide that essential last step in the publishing process.

I regularly marvel at the mail system in this country. It�s something we take for granted. And when it does get mentioned, it�s rarely positive.

But properly placing nearly 212 billion pieces a year, I think of as a kind of miracle.

Nora Buttram sent me a book that puts an appealing face on that huge number of deliveries.

More than a Job�Making a Difference�One Mailbox at a Time tells about Nora�s 19 years carrying mail for the Smiths Grove post office in south-central Kentucky.

From a brief introductory history of the Pony Express, Nora describes her experiences, thoughts, friendships, and spirituality as she filled people�s mailboxes. She writes about running over someone (they survived), dealing with male customers, what she considers important in life, her Christmas letters, and even playing a part in a drug bust.

The whole tone of the book boils down to a quotation she cites: �A few people can do great things; many people can do small things in a great way.� She concludes that chapter by telling about getting involved on the losing side of a civic issue. She writes, �I was disappointed in the outcome, but took consolation in the fact that I had given my sincere efforts. Sometimes that is all we can do, but surely we should do that.�

Thank you, Nora, and all your associates.

Happy Valentine�s Day.

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