This little post office in my community is one of several small-town post offices that are on a list of post offices that being looked at to be closed. I saw the call-to-action signs and did as the signs said — went to the Ryland Facebook page to find out what was going on. A video on the page details why it’s on the list, why it shouldn’t be on the list, and so forth. The reasons for saving the Ryland post office are very valid so I wrote a letter to the two people mentioned in the video as the decision-makers in post office closings and mailed them from the Ryland box. I figured the “Ryland” postmark would pack extra punch.
Chances are though that my reasons for fighting to save the Ryland post office aren’t the same reasons as everyone else who has a stake in the cause. It’s not because it’s the post office that I most often frequent. In fact, the Ryland post office is more like my “emergency” post office. If I’ve forgotten to send something during the week it’s more convenient to go to this one just a mile from my home than any post office in town. I understand that businesses and residents around here rely on the Ryland post office. That’s not really my experience.
The postal service is struggling, from what I understand, with more and more people doing business online and not mailing as much as they used to. That’s why we’ve seen regular postage rate increases the last few years. I’m sure they’re just looking at which offices make the most sense to close based on usability, location, and other factors. The Ryland post office may meet some of those criteria since it’s in a rural area. I think the postmasters need to look at the list critically when making their decision and truly analyze which offices would have the largest impact if closed. From what the “save the post office” supporters are claiming Ryland is well-used and profitable and the community has rallied together to save it before. I’m a part of this community and I want to support my community’s cause. That’s why I wrote those letters.
But deeper than that is a sadness over change that results in the loss of something that I think defines “American.” Rural post offices symbolize small town to me. As do single flashing caution lights, courthouse squares, and mom and pop stores.
The closing of smaller post offices is a sign of the times, and don’t get me wrong I like “the times” but I still feel sadness at seeing days gone by actually go by. They may be successful at saving Ryland’s post office this time and again and for a long time. I hope they are. I support them. But some day not only will the Ryland post office close, all post offices will close and they will just be something from our country’s past. I’d like to hang on to them as long as we can because once they’re gone they’re gone.