Full moons, freaky Fridays and Herodotus
Published 8:32 pm Monday, July 19, 2004
"Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds."
These famous words have been associated with the United States Postal Service for decades. After July 2, I'm considering how we can adapt this phrase for the Atmore Advance.
Friday was certainly a full moon, and the situation at the Advance office on Main Street was positively Biblical.
Heavy rains pounded our little corner of the world that afternoon as we were all steadily working to ready the Sunday edition. When the call of nature rang, I swiveled around in my chair to steal off to the water closet when, lo, my eyes did behold a strange and perplexing site.
A sheet of clear liquid, about a half-inch deep, was making its way from under our composition tables towards my desk and the rest of the newsroom. It was like a scene out of "The Blob."
The entire length of one end of our office was under about an inch of water, and it was coming for us, computers and all. We stared in amazement at the site, wondering how, exactly this could happen, and wondering if we would be paddling around to get our printouts.
Luckily, the rain subsided later that afternoon and Lake News began to recede as well.
With the floods abated, we were due for another plague. The Advance office is not usually a playground, so I was a bit surprised to see a young boy jumping around in front of the building, just outside my window.
I went outside to see what was the matter; I left the door open. Silly me. Something flew in front of my face as I approached the boy. "Bats," he said. Sure enough, a small colony of at least half a dozen bats had been driven out by the rains and were flying around helter skelter.
Remember that open door? One of those said bats decided it could use a little air conditioning. For the next 15 minutes it terrorized the staff of the Advance. Our attempts to trap it in a side office went unfulfilled, our publisher's bravery notwithstanding.
The flying rats made strafing runs on anyone trying to enter the building. And our visiting dignitary finally made his way back out the door.
We still got our Sunday edition out that week, so now you know that neither floods nor bats will keep us from getting the news to you.
By the way, that famous saying, is not the postman's creed, or the official motto of the USPS. It comes from the writings of Herodotus and describes the expedition of the Greeks against the Persians under Cyrus, about 500 B.C., according to the U.S. Postal Service.
The translation of this text was inscribed on a postal service building in New York by the building's architects.
During their most successful period, the Persians relied on the mail and the news too.
Arthur McLean is the editor of the Atmore Advance.