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Continued: Rosenblum: How about a little love for those who carry the mail?

  • Article by: GAIL ROSENBLUM , Star Tribune
  • Last update: January 30, 2014 - 2:58 AM

Albee spent his early years in Idaho, Phoenix and Seattle, before his wife, Wendy, also with the Air Force Reserves, “dragged [him] out here in 1991.” They have three young adult children.

After a stint in the post office warehouse, he’s been walking mailbox to mailbox for 15 years, four to five miles a day, five to six days a week. He also trains new carriers and said veterans often make the best employees. “They have a get-this-done attitude,” Albee said.

Because the mail does need to get delivered, on time, every day but Sunday and holidays. Delivery times are now tracked electronically.

Albee returns to his truck to repack, then bolts off again. This Brooklyn Center neighborhood has anywhere from 14 to 25 houses per block. Others can have twice that number.

A dog barks from inside a house. “That’s Abbie, a black lab,” he said.

He pays attention in other ways, too.

He lets residents know when he smells gas. He let neighbors know when an elderly woman hadn’t picked up her mail in a few days. (Turns out she was out of town). Lots of people stop to ask him for directions.

Albee has made 20 tire swings and gifted them to people on his route, tying them onto trees himself, so they’ll be used safely.

As tough as winter gets, he said summer has its own challenges. “There are usually four or five awful days; muggy, stale. I can take 103 degrees, if there’s a bit of a breeze, but 90- to 95-degrees and stagnant? I bring a gallon of water and it’s gone at lunch.”

Spring must be lovely, right? Well. “I love spring,” Albee said. “The rebirth, the leaves coming out. But it rains. I don’t like getting wet.”

Thank goodness for fall. “The weather’s nice in fall,” he agreed. “The leaves are falling. It’s a nice time to be out.”

As the temps dip under zero yet again, Albee and his co-workers will be out delivering our mail. We should clear our sidewalks for them.

“I don’t think my kids will do this work but, you know, it’s not a bad gig. It has afforded me a nice house, cars, everything else that I need to raise my kids. It’s a steady job.

“Today, the wind is not howling,” he said before moving on. “No matter how bad it is, it could always be worse.”

 

gail.rosenblum@startribune.com

612-673-7350 • @grosenblum

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