David E. Steiner

Retired USAF, Teacher, Dad, Grandfather, Curmudgeon

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Postal Rates


By the time you read this, we may already be paying 25¢ to mail a first class letter.

Not that it matters much. A real letter these days is an event in our house, and no wonder. It costs us as little as 16¢ a minute to talk on the phone to California or New York. Why spend 25¢ when you have to go through all the hassle of getting out paper and envelopes and stamps and then try to remember how to spell “occasion.” A letter probably costs an hour's time and 40¢ and then you have to mail it and wait for an answer. For a couple of dollars you can have a very satisfying dialogue with just about anyone without all that.

I have noticed all this because I substituted for Ivan Steinke delivering the mail a few years back, and about the only first class mail I carried was bills, and payments and letters from (and sometimes to) congressmen and senators. There were a few postcards from people on vacations and from overseas, and that's about it. The rest of it was what we impolitely call junk mail and the Post Office politely calls Bulk Business Mail.

Maybe you've noticed that your junk mail has been increasing? Who hasn't?

During the winter, our Postmaster, Otto Walter, is very nice and keeps my bulk mail and forwards the first class when I'm out of town, and he does that for a very large number of people. Just about everybody in town, at one time or another, I expect. When I get back and collect my mail, I get a whole new perspective on Bulk Business Mail, I'll tell you. You've probably had the same experience.

So what's happening is that I'm still getting catalogues from places I haven't done business with for five years and I can't afford to send a letter to my mother!

No, that's not true. What really happens is that I send my mother a present out of one of the catalogues and then she calls and thanks me and we have a nice chat.

Then I get another ton of Bulk Business Mail and the first class rates go up.

Let's face it, we've pretty much stopped writing letters; it's a chore to R.S.V.P. an invitation. Good thing they sent a SASE or they'd never find out if I was coming.

In the days before we had phones up here, the arrival of the mail was something we looked forward to every day. It was our contact with The Outside World, along with a trip to the store every day for the newspaper. It was sort of odd; we came up here to get away from things and the first thing we did was try to find out what was happening at home.

Today, with satellite dishes and phones (which work most of the time), keeping in touch with letters seems hopelessly old fashioned.

In those distant days, too, the arrival of a telegram meant really important news, usually bad. Now, when someone goes to the trouble of avoiding the phone and sending a letter, it often means the same thing. Seems to me most of the bad news I've had in the last few years has come by letter, sometimes registered. When it's registered, you can be pretty sure it's bad news.

There hasn't been much of a fuss kicked up over the rise in price. Maybe that's because we send so few letters anymore.

 But I send one to the Wind almost every month -- I think I have $3.96 invested in sending first class letters to the Wind. If the price goes up any more I may have to rethink my commitment to volunteer journalism.

Come to think of it, maybe I'll write a letter to my senator. On second thought maybe I'll just call his office -- it's cheaper.




© 1985 – 2003, David E. Steiner

Allenspark Wind Columns:


Why Allenspark?

Going Riding [August, 1985]


Used Cars

Peace and Quiet [1986]

Liberals & Conservatives

Going to the Movies

The Screened Porch

The Beginning of The Season

The Weather

The Hilltop Guild Bazaar

The End of The Season

The Gift of Time

The Beavers

Addresses [1987]


Watching the Trees Grow

Postal Rates

Changes in Estes Park

Square Dancing at the Pow Wow

Back to the Hilltop Guild Bazaar

The Solstices

Bird Feeders


The Estes Park Hardware Store [1988]


Limousine Service

A Memorial Service

A Hummingbird


A Hiking Trip

The Estes Park Public Library

Wild Life

Riparian Rights [1989]




Mountain Friendliness

A Motorcycle Trip

Satellite Television

“Weaving Mountain Memories”

Hotel Rates in the Old Days

The Price of Propane [1990]

The Front Range Almanac


Modes of Transportation

Miller Moths

My 50th Column

Modern Conveniences

Rock Climbing

On the Death of Otto Walter, Postmaster

Otto’s Memorial Service

A Big Owl Pot-Luck Dinner

A Whine About Telephone Service [1991]

After the Persian Gulf War

Some Changes in the WIND

The Trip to the Mountains

The Mountains in the Summer


Of Dogs, Music, and Children

Muhlenburg County

To My Grandson

The Sale of Longs Peak Inn

World War II  [1992]

Murphy’s Law and the Computer

The South St. Vrain Canyon


The Hazards of Volunteering

Crime in Our Valley


On the Death of Charles Eagle Plume

Can We All Get Along?

A Partridge in a Pear Tree

Lost Horizon [1993]


Rumors About a Visit by the Pope


More About Fences


The Visit of Pope John Paul II

Forest Fires

The New Sewage System

The Snow Pool

The Good Old Days [1994]

The WIND’s 20th Anniversary

The Bunce School

The Shooting Gallery

The Estes Park Museum

Our Government

U.S. West Takes a Hit

The Year of the Hummingbirds

A New “Yield” Sign

Growth in Allenspark

Private Telephones?

The Salvation Army

Creation Science [1995]

Devolutionizing Big Government



Fort D.A. Russell

Domestic Terrorism

Old and New

Barney Graves

Life in the Wilderness

What’s In a Name?

Arthur C. Clarke


The Estes Park Trail-Gazette Columns:

July 1983


Estes Cone

Johnny Grant

Observations in Estes Park

The Bath House


The Sutherland’s Ice House

How Old is Charles Eagle Plume?


Christmas Trees

Tree Murder

Mountain Driving


Mail Boxes

More About Mail Boxes

“Are you related to ....?”


An Accident

The Wild Cat

A July Reunion

A Visit to Baldpate Inn

Opening Cabins


The Times, They Have Changed

Death and Transfiguration

The Population Explosion

The March of Time

Faith-Based Social Services

Looking for Pitch

Recent Writings I

Recent Writings II

Recent Writings III

Recent Writings IV

Recent Writings V

Recent Writings VI



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