Slowly, but surely, they have disappeared. The tiny places with the charming names. Names like Dimple, Turnertown - and one of my favorites, Sunny Lane. They were country post offices, located usually in a country store which served as a “hub” of sorts for little communities ‘round about.
Unable to absorb the cost of operation, the postal service gradually closed most of the quaint little places that handled folks’ mail for many years.
As a child, I looked forward to the mail, sometimes waiting for hours on the small hill that overlooked our old mailbox on Hwy. 105, to see what our mailman would bring. our mailman, Mr. Romans, drove an old Jeep and I could hardly wait to for that ole jeep to come creeping down the road. I saved “Blue Horse” and “Lucky Star” coupons that came on my school notebook paper, which could be sent off for free premiums - “really neat” stuff like a “whiz gun” or a “genuine gold-toned” charm bracelet. I would faithfully watch for the mail, waiting for my free gift.
It was hard sometimes to come up with the three cents needed for a stamp to mail my letters. Occasionally I had to beg Moma out of some of her “egg money” for stamps!
I have always loved the name “Sunny Lane.” It evokes in my a picture of a dusty country road, shaded, in part, by huge maples, that lead to a wonderful old store which held all sorts of “goodies.”
My mother wistfully remembered the store at Sunny Lane. It was once operated by a lovely couple named Carlie and “Miss Ferrie” Washer.
Now Moma was a mailman (or mailwoman?) when she was but a young girl. Asked by a cousin to be a substitute on the route, she soon became a regular carrier. The route took her many long miles. The “neat” part was she rode a horse, with the mail being carried in leather saddlebags! For this task she received one dollar a day. The route was long and sometimes the old saddle grew uncomfortable and the horse weary. Moma told me this story, I shall tell it in her words.
“My route took me to several little post offices ending at Homer. I carried me a little lunch and I would stop off the road to eat my dinner and rest the horse a bit. This particular day was cold, being winter time. i was chilled to the bone. As I neared an old farmhouse on my route, I seen folks busy in the yard - a big kettle a boiling and I could see they was a killing hogs. One of the women folk met me and said, Land sakes child, you look nearly froze. Climb down off this horse for a spell and let me fry you some of these here fresh sausage for dinner.’
“They had two large tubs and a hand cranked grinder going, making sausage on the spot.
“So I did, and I’ve never forgot how good those fresh sausage tasted.
“Those folks were so kind, asking me inside their simple home, to warm by their fire.”
And so Moma was kind of like the Pony Express. I know it sure seems strange to imagine the mail carried on horseback, but it actually happened.
When I remember Moma today, walking gingerly with the help of her cane, it is hard to picture her sitting a prancing horse, carrying the mail for only a dollar a day - but she did.
And I suppose if this ole world stands years from now, folks will probably marvel at things we experience today.
But still, places like Sunny Lane, Boston and hickory Stand will always remain in my memory. As picturesque places of times past - never to be seen again.
Till next time.