My dearest –

O, United States Postal Service, you will always be my favorite arm of the US government. Your patriotic trucks – emblazoned with the infinitely, always humble “We Deliver for You” – stir my heart. You are my everything. You are the light from Lady Liberty’s torch, cutting through New York Harbor’s dark night. You are Betsy Ross’s needle, stitching together this great American country. You are Pennsylvania’s Liberty Bell, tolling out good cheer for all. You are, you are, you are.

My love, you reach out to the masses and gather all of American into your bosom. You do not judge. You do not discriminate. For 55 cents, you will carry a letter from my mailbox to my neighbor’s. For those same 55 cents, alternatively, I could send a letter to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, literally delivered by mule. These 55 cents are my American dream – all of the Fifty Nifty States (as well as Puerto Rico, Guam, and the US Virgin Islands!) are equally a shiny half dollar and nickel away. You could choose to only conduct business in tight urban cities with wide profit margins, but instead you remind me there is love, love, love enough to share. 

Coronavirus has become the prism through which all our life is filtered, and my love for you is no exception. The current pandemic has swept away much of my footing for this physical world and replaced it with a digital shadow. Where I once rubbed shoulders with peers on my way to class, I now get static and feedback if I forget to mute my microphone. In lieu of walking through the heart of campus, I have only the occasional UTD social media post to remind me of this home of mine. Ideas are real, this I know, but after hours of talking and talking to friends over the phone, I realize that I miss connecting with them through a physical medium. And this, my love, is where you are our saving grace. Sloppy handwriting and misspelled words, like misplaced footprints in wet concrete, are the messy reminders of this physical world we are born into. COVID-19 has smoothed over these errors with crisp texts and curt emails, but letters remain a testament to the fact that the person who wrote this letter spills their morning tea. The person who wrote this does not perfectly fold paper in thirds. The person who wrote this crosses out extra letters instead of erasing. Letters’ unique, distinct forms ground my physical senses. 

I am catastrophically, fatally in love with you. I believe I have told this to you before, but goodness gracious, especially now, I worry about you – are you taking care of yourself? Is someone hurting you? Why now, of all times, would there be increased threats against your well-being? Where did your fearless leader, Megan Brennan, go? It could not possibly be connected to the little pesky election we have coming up, could it? You have always been busy humming away through important historical events. When Patrick Henry said, “Give me liberty or give me death,” you were laying the routes to share information through new American newspapers, subscription magazines, and pamphlets. When Lincoln, at the hallowed grounds of Gettysburg, said that the United States “shall have a new birth of freedom,” you were sharing important information between battle sites to secure this renaissance. And when Kennedy proclaimed, “Ask not what you can do for your country – ask what you can do for your country,” in his inaugural address, you were still serving, serving, serving, even against the grain of popularizing telephone lines. Today, we need you to continue to serve. You are our sense of normalcy – delivering mail to all populations, especially the most vulnerable – throughout this country’s most turbulent times. 

Your endurance is necessary. More than ever, we need you to connect Americans to our democratic processes. We need you for creative, thoughtful, kind communication between distanced friends and family. We need you to provide equitable, fair pricing through all of this. 

I am infinitely yours,

Patricia Mathu