Q: While our daughter was on vacation with our small grandkids, she bought them postcards and suggested they write us about their vacation.
She said she laughed when the kids finished with the cards because she hadn’t realized they didn’t know how to write a postcard. The children had turned the cards sideways and had written across the entire card from top to bottom. Not wanting to hurt their feelings, she found a half-inch space on one side and in tiny print wrote our names and address.
I would like to thank the postal workers in both Springfield and Wales, Mass., and in Hartford, Conn., for caring, for taking the time to search for our address and forwarding these wonderful memories to us. — Thankful Grandma J.
A: I’m pleased to pass along your message to the caring postal workers who ensured that you receive the postcards. They obviously take pride in their work.
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When I started writing this reply, I thought I’d begin by quoting the postal workers’ official motto: “Neither rain nor hail nor sleet nor snow,” etc. Then, unsure of the correct wording, I decided to look it up online. What I found fascinated me, and I hope it will you, too. Here’s the gist:
Contrary to popular belief, the U.S. Postal Service has no motto. The familiar sentence “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds” is actually just the inscription found on the General Post Office in New York City at Eighth Avenue and 33rd Street.
The inscription was provided by the architects who designed the building. The sentence appears in a translation of the account of the fifth-century B.C. Greek historian Herodotus and describes the expedition of the Greeks against the Persians. The Persians had a system of mounted postal couriers, and he was describing the fidelity with which their work was done.
Q: Several months ago I spoke to a doctor friend about some medical issues my wife was experiencing. He specializes in this particular area. When he advised my wife to come into the office, I told him it was not a good time for us financially. He said not to worry about it.
We made the appointment and about two months later the bill arrived. We are on a high-deductible health plan and the bill is not cheap. How can I discuss this with my friend without offending? I don’t want to sound presumptuous — I know this is his livelihood — but we would have stuck it out until we were better off financially. — Financial Difficulty
A: Call your friend the doctor and explain the situation. If you do, he may reduce the amount of his bill or, alternatively, agree to a payment plan that you can manage.
Write Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.