Back in the 80s and early 90s I lived in a small hamlet in Norther Virginia. My house was two wrong turns off the main road into the hamlet. I used “main road” as a descriptor only because it was larger than all other other roads. The hamlet was small with less than 40 houses, still we did not have mail delivery. But we did have a post office. It was attached to the side of one of the houses, but it was an official postal office with a full time Postmaster – or as she preferred, Postmistress. I usually gathered up the mail once a week on Saturday mornings. In addition to the mail, other services were available: weather forecasts, local news, political updates, friendly chatter, health updates on neighbors, and whatever else was being offered on the front porch of the post office. Lest you think it was an image of small town America, think smaller. The post office was it. If you wanted coffee on the front porch, you brought your own. In the village, neighbors were important. They watched your house when you were gone. They challenged strangers that might be hanging about. It is a fine balance between watchful and nosey. From time to time I think about Saturdays at the post office and wonder about all that is being lost in our modern world.
My mother’s family is from an island in Canada. The telephone operator provided local information, weather, and more importantly how lively the ferry boat ride was likely to be. She was the same font of local information. It was never the same after dial telephones were installed in 1967.
Hi Father George, things lost in our modern world often darkens my thoughts as I approach my 79th birthday. Life was so much easier before cell phones. I was turned loose after school to play outside with my friends, we actually talked to one another directly back then and played baseball, violent video games came along much later. My Mom charged me only to head home when the street lights came on (my small town in Southern CA was much larger than your hamlet, but the neighborhood moms kept eyes on us). As an American, one of the saddest losses to me was having elected officials at all levels who worked together (across the aisle) to produce results for the good of the town or county or state or nation. Sure they respectfully criticized their opponent at election time, but they mostly talked about themselves and their vision for a better life — and, more importantly, worked together to accomplish things. I can name almost no politician today who fits that model, they only work to ensure their own reelection and thwart the opposite party from accomplishing anything at all. And sadly, they lie and repeat the lies of their feared leaders, believing somewhat correctly that the lie repeated often enough become accepted. During my daily morning prayers, I always ask God to instill in our elected officials both the knowledge of what is good for our country and its people and the ability to work together again to accomplish it. I really enjoy your musings as they often get mine going. Thank you, and God bless!