Sunday, July 24, 2005

a life's calling

When I was in high school an occupational aptitude test was administered to the entire freshman class. I can't remember the list of jobs that I was psychologically suited for, but I do recall that working outside would appeal to me. Yet, I always worked in offices for most of my work life until 1984 when, at the age of 39 I started working as a letter carrier in north east Oklahoma. I do like being outside. Not only was I able to watch the seasons change over the course of years, but I was exposed to the freezing cold of winter, and heat and humidity of summer. Working on a walking mail route for 21 years has kept my heart in good shape and my blood pressure at acceptable levels. I'm about to retire and I can't help looking back over the years and taking stock of all the experiences that have come my way. I've made many friends, not only fellow employees, but customers that eagerly await my deliveries each day. I'm grateful for the employment I've had with the Postal Service. It's provided a comfortable living for me and my family, and an adequate retirement with health benefits. Over the past twenty one years I've driven over snow covered roads and ice to get to work and deliver the route. I've walked the beat on days when the high temperature was seven degrees. There were days, during spring thunderstorms, when I thought I was going to be struck by lightning. I've delivered mail after dark, reading the addresses by the glow of a porch light. And now, in 19 days it's all coming to an end. I won't miss the aggressive dogs, or the land mines they leave in yards. Nor will I miss the extremes of weather that impeded my progress on some days. But I will miss the opportunity to serve the public, even in a small way. The gratitude on people's faces after receiving a much anticipated mailing, the small talk that occurred at each brief encounter with customers (after all, were only at each delivery for a few seconds), the knowledge that what we do is important to the community and the economy. I'll miss all that.

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