Everyone knew something big was happening at the little post office in Edgemoor on that Tuesday morning, Aug. 21. Cars from out of the area filled the roadside, and important looking men in dark suits, white shirts and ties touched with red accompanied ladies in "city clothes." As they walked toward the building, they saw a big pot of mums at the front door and a little garden, off to the right, planted by Martha Brannen and her friends Edith and Billie Beard, which added to the sweet charm of the place.
Those out-of-town visitors must have known even before they went inside that this post office was different than others. It is certainly just as efficient, just as businesslike, but there is an air of welcoming and good will that isn't seen in all. First, names fly through the air, and smiles illuminate the workers' and the clients' faces. It is a nice place to go and to be so cordially welcomed, even when mailing a handful of checks.
However, this day was different. Those important looking visitors were not tourists who just happened to see our charming little office and stopped in to say hello and look us over. They were officials from the United States Postal Service. The tall one with the sharp mustache was David Fields, whose momma was born in Kentucky. (That explained his kind and cultured demeanor.) Fields is the district manager, and he was the very one who was going to present the winner of the Joseph M. Kaplan USPS Safe Driver of the Year Award to our well known and deeply appreciated Tarina J. Morton.
Fields was accompanied by Stephanie Harris, district safety manager; Maryann Wright, public relations manager; Lynn Montieth, voice of employees coordinator; and Gary Richardson, post office operations manager. Everyone of importance was right there standing in our own little post office. All we really lacked was the brass band.
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Can you imagine that little lady was declared to be the safest rural driver in the Mid-Carolina District? That's a sprawling division of rural letter carriers that goes from Pageland to Clover. Just think of the number of rural carriers who work this trail of little post offices. Even with thinking, you will probably never realize there are 3,000 of these important people, and "Tina" Morton was with pure facts and numbers judged to be the safest rural letter carrier.
Try to imagine the number of cars Tina has missed during her 20 years of driving an average of 49 miles a day. Just think of the ones that she could have rear-ended, had she not been vigilant. Just think of the number of deep-thinking people who have pulled out in front of her, and she just kept on smiling and never put a dent in anyone's fender. Just think of the number of people who have watched for an oncoming car and then pulled out, just seconds before it approached. Just think of the know-how it takes, the amount of good judgment one must exercise every hour. Just think how fortunate we, the citizens of this place, to have a driver of this quality delivering our personal mail.
Delivering has made Tina an authority on the driving habits of the folks in Chester County. She well knows the ones who pull out right in front and then with no notice turn into the next driveway, simply a matter of a few feet. However, Tina has a philosophy that cushions her central nervous system every day: She just thinks they must be in a hurry.
And there are friends, too. No one would think of passing the white Jeep with Tina at the wheel without a horn tapped to say hello. No one would see her without thinking about the years they have passed and waved.
In fact we are just "plumb" delighted with our pretty little post office, our charming postmistress and the beautiful flowers that bloom in the sweet garden all summer long.
How many other post offices in this country vie for a House Beautiful rating, all of that charm at the hands of Delta Watson, postmistress in charge of letters, packages, money orders and general knowledge, always ready to accommodate and please?
Tina will again come into competition in October when the finalist for the safe driving award is selected in Chicago. She won't be able to attend, but the results will be announced. For us, the announcement is not necessary -- we already know who the winner should be.