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Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds...

If this Herodotus quote was posted over the main Denver post office rather than the one in New York City, we'd have to delete "swift."

Because over the last month, metro residents have gotten accustomed to very special deliveries -- mail drops at their homes at 7 p.m., 9 p.m., sometimes even later. At first, it seemed an odd holiday phenomenon -- or maybe a new moonlighting U.S. Postal Service shift.

As it turns out, though, the post office hasn't changed its hours -- the blizzards and their rutted remains have just stretched out the job in Denver. "It really takes letter carriers a lot longer to deliver the routes," says Al DeSarro, post office spokesman. "We're trying to get it back to normal as soon as possible. Our goal is to try to get all the mail delivered by five o'clock every day. Usually, we're able to do that. But this past month, it's taken an average of two to four more hours for carriers to deliver the routes."

Most routes are designed so that the carrier can sort the mail at the office, deliver it, and then return within eight hours. Now, between having problems parking vehicles (DeSarro reports that he spent an hour recently digging out one carrier on his route, and that man had four-wheel drive) and then trudging slowly to mailboxes (even so, he says, eighty carriers have injured themselves on the ice), the job goes much, much longer.

The only bright spot for these faithful letter carriers: They get overtime.

And it's way above freezing today. Seal that with a kiss.-- Patricia Calhoun

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