There are plums at the end . . .

I went to help a new guy today. After I finished my work, the station called and asked if I’d go find another guy who was on a route for the first time. He was understandably behind a bit and I took half what he had left, which I figured was an hour and a half. It was a lot of mail and I had never been on this route either, so we were both seeing it all for the first time. In cases like that you have to rely on whoever prepped it, and then you have to follow the mail (it has been machine sorted), trusting to go where it tells you.

There were two snags in that today. One, the part of the section that I took had several “dead heads”, places in the route where it just stops and then starts again several blocks away. You just go with it, and you can tell when it happens. You look ahead and make sure that there is a pattern there, and then start over. It’s not a problem and you figure it out pretty quickly. The second snag was that the machines had malfunctioned last night, so we had two trays of sorted mail running parallel to one another. Part of an address would be in one tray and part in another. For every house. All day. These two intertwined trays plus what had been sorted at the office plus all the parcels on a new route was what I was doing. On my own route, once I got out I took the extra tray and a few minutes and sorted it all into the other tray combining them in sequence. But, on this section, I did not know the address sequence, so it was not feasible.

Well, I stayed with it, and somehow it all went fine. It was some good overtime pay and took stress off the new guy on his first day. And, toward the end of it, a kind, elderly woman asked me if I like Italian plums and do I have a few minutes? Yes to both, because I do like them and I was already ahead on this new-to-me-and-him route and would easily make the deadline (“deadline” being the boss said just go take enough from him so that you both get back at a decent time—well, what is decent? Lots of leeway there I think).

She came out after a couple of minutes and brought a box lid of gorgeous plums out. I gave some away, and on that plate up there is what is left, now sitting on my table. It was a nice way to end the workday.

If you stay with it, I promise there are plums at the end . . .