Friday, April 3, 2009

Pony Express Day

Your best friend is on vacation. She's having the time of her life. You read about her adventures on the tiny postcard. The picture is so pretty. You're happy for her, but you're jealous because you wish you were there too.

Your book manuscript is finally finished! It's perfect and it's ready to go. You give it a little hug and then let it slip through your fingers into the slot at the post office. Whooosh -- it's on its way! No looking back now.

Bills, bills, bills -- no one likes them. If they don't get paid, things get shut off or taken away, and that's bad. You carelessly toss them into your mailbox for the mailman to pick up. Out of sight, out of mind.

Your favorite magazine has arrived. You can finally try that new recipe, do fun craft projects with your kids, or read all the latest gossip about your favorite TV stars. You can't wait to sit down and savor every page.

Think about it -- we still rely on the US Postal Service, even in this day of digital technology with computers, email, social networking, blogging, cell phones, and text messaging. Our mailbox might not be as busy as it used to be, but we still rely on it for some things. Today is Pony Express Day. The Pony Express was a fast mail service that ran from St. Joseph, MO to Sacramento, CA. It only lasted a year from 1860 to 1861. There were 190 stations throughout the 2000 mile route. The stations were about 10 miles apart, which was what the horses could travel at a full gallop. The riders changed horses at every station. They carried the mail in a pouch called a mochila and could carry up to 20 pounds of mail and 20 pounds of supplies, such as a water sack, a Bible, a horn to alert the station master, and two weapons. The riders could not weigh more than 125 pounds because of the 40 pounds of supplies they carried. Eventually, they stopped carrying everything but the mail, water and one revolver to cut back on the weight. The riders rode day and night, in winter and summer, and received $25 a week in pay. The very first ride of the Pony Express was 149 years ago today -- April 3, 1860. Because of problems with contracts and the start of the Civil War, the Pony Express was shut down. The Pony Express logo had lived on for years, until 2006 when the USPS trademarked it.

Stuff like this makes me realize how fortunate we are today. Oh sure, I have to drive 2 miles to get to my mailbox from my house. And yeah, sometimes I grumble because I have to roll down the window to get the mail from my car. But to think of what these riders went through to deliver the mail makes me think twice and appreciate what we have. Just a click of a mouse and I can send something across the world. Things certainly have changed. By the way, the horse above is named Rex. He was one of the horses my girls took care of at a ranch when we lived in California. Such a cutie!


  1. Wow, I've never thought about that, makes you stop and think about how good we have it, yet people will always complain.

    Thanks, Rena.


  2. You certainly start a person thinking Rena!

  3. It's Rex-A-Roni! He had almost as many goofy names as Kitty has. :D

  4. It's amazing how things have changed, Rena. We do have it good, but for some they don't realize it.

  5. Too bad you don't have that cute pony there - you could ride it down to your mailbox!

  6. For all the pieces of mail the US Post Office moves each day, (then think about holidays, like Christmas) I am continually amazed. Only once was piece of important mail lost getting to me from the Virgin Islands, and that was after a terrible hurricane hit St. Thomas and everything was pretty much in a state of chaos.

    Cheers to the Pony Express!

  7. This summer, on my way to Cheyenne, WY, I stopped and spent a few hpurs at the Pomy Express museum in Nebraska (don't remember the city). It was amazing! It was housed in a renovated Express station and kept me well occupied.