February 4th is known as Thank a Mailman Day – a chance to show your appreciation to the men and women who deliver your mail everyday, six days a week.

And whether they walk a route or deliver to a roadside box, it’s only a very rare occasion when the weather prevents them from doing it. Even with the recent postal rate hike, it’s still a pretty good deal to send an envelope anywhere in the country for 49 cents.

You could consider Pony Express riders as the first American mailmen. With gold discovered in California and hundreds of thousands of people moving west to find their fortune, there was a need for a dependable, speedy mail service across the country. So in 1860, Central Overland California and Pikes Peak Express Company began a system for delivering mail between Joseph, Mo. and Sacramento, Calif.

Joseph was as far west as the railroad and telegraph went back then, so in April 1860, the first Pony Express riders began their trips – one of them heading west, the other one leaving Sacramento heading east -- and through a series of rest stops and changes of horses and riders, the mail made it to its destination in just about 10 days. Back then, that was incredible time.

Pony Express riders adopted the famous motto: “Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night, stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” It later became the unofficial motto of the postal service.

So at the very least, give your mail carrier a smile and a thank you on this Thank a Mailman Day.