Kathy Bassett: The mail in Maybell

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Kathy Bassett

Kathy Bassett's column, "The View from Maybell," appears in the Saturday Morning Press.

The first U.S. Post Office in Maybell was kept by Mr. Banks on his ranch. He had a boy named George Bell and a girl, May. So he named the Post Office after his two children - now you know how Maybell got its name.

But, I bet you didn't know there have been little post offices all around the area - Maybell, Lay, Smelter Ranch, Dry Knob, Greystone and the list goes on.

Today, the Post Office sits firmly in the town of Maybell, and I don't believe anyone will be moving it around. The postmaster is Darrell Arguello, who was appointed in 1993.

The mail is still bundled up and delivered to Browns Park on Mondays and Thursdays unless those days fall on a holiday or Mother Nature gets too wrapped up in her work.

Throughout the years, the mail carriers have been great to see that the mail gets to the customer, even if he/she has to deliver it twice because it got placed in the wrong box. Most folks are pretty gracious about it, even taking it upon themselves to hand deliver it to the correct addressee. The route is a long one, and the mailboxes are far apart.

When the mail carrier leaves Maybell after a sometimes stressful morning of sorting and bundling mail, he or she might as well sit back and enjoy the ride because it is an adventure, and they never know what they will see or encounter.

Years ago, everyone had two mailbags made of heavy canvas with leather straps. They put their outgoing mail in one and left it in the box. The carrier then picked up that bag and threw the second one into the box with all their incoming mail. Several folks on the route still use these bags.

The other customers get their mail bundled up in a large rubber band. In an area where there are no hard line telephone wires, and TV is only accessible in some areas if you have satellite, it is still like Christmas on mail day. The carrier goes almost to the Wyoming line and then into Utah and back into Colorado.

Years ago, when the post office was at Greystone and the postmaster was Ann Ducey, folks would come to her post office and pick up their mail.

Everyone knows that Pete Perusic would drive down off the mountain on his tractor, but before he went into the post office, where everyone congregated to catch up on news, he would take the steering wheel off his tractor because he didn't want anyone stealing it.

The best story I was told, by the older gentleman who used to be the "little guy," is when he was about 5 or 6 years old back in the early '40s, every Monday and Thursday, he would get irritated because his grandma would save the last piece of pie or cake for the mail carrier who always drove into the ranch. So the little guy put a bandana over his face and rode his horse down the road a ways where he would jump out from behind a rock to "hold up the mailman" who always had a newspaper to throw out but never a strongbox. Those escapades soon ended when the little guy glumly sat at the table watching the mailman devour the last huge slice of rhubarb pie and telling Grandma that he had just acquired a Colt 45 automatic that fired seven shots as fast as you could pull the trigger. He would be carrying it along on the route because he was afraid of masked robbers and he had to guard the mail with his life. That ended the mail robberies.

When Greystone sold several years ago, the old post office boxes went to the Jarvie ranch. The new owners found sheets of unused old postage stamps. Now the price of U.S. mail is going up again in May. But it is still a way of communication for many folks in the Browns Park area who do not have the Internet, and I think we should thank all the carriers for their dedication to serving their mail customers, even though sometimes it is a real hardship on themselves.

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