Saturday, November 28, 2009

The End of an Era

In my neighborhood, which I've now lived in about 8 years, we have our mailboxes up around our front porches. It's great for many reasons, and I think only older neighborhoods have this set up. Obviously, it's super convenient. You either open your front door to get the mail, or some people have it drop right inside their house. But one of the unexpected reasons it's so great is that you get to know your mail carrier because he spends hours each day walking the neighborhood streets.

IF you've got the kind of mail carrier that we've had. Our mailman, Jim, has been walking our neighborhood streets and bringing us our mail, and saying hello to us most days for over 20 years.

About a year and a half ago, Jim took a different route for a while. I think the walking 9 1/2 miles every day was getting to him and he needed a little break. All my neighbors and I realized how much we missed Jim. We rarely got the friendly hello shout outs, our mail came at random times, and we didn't know the names of the different mail carriers that showed up from day to day. And if we were going on vacation, we actually had to go up to the local post office branch and fill out a little sheet of paper asking them to hold the mail until we returned. (Jim had always just taken care of that for us!)

Then, several months ago, Jim returned and all was right with the world (or at least our little neighborhood) again.

But, today was Jim's last day. He turns 62 next week and is retiring. He told me he's just tired of the 9 1/2 mile walks each day. He also told me he'd visit our neighborhood again, but I think he might have just said that so I wouldn't cry as we said our goodbyes.

I've seen change happening in our neighborhood since we've moved in. We started out with so many sweet, older neighbors in their 80s. Now some of those people have moved away, or moved on, and younger neighbors have come in to take their places. I still love my 'hood, but it's not quite the same. And now, losing Jim as our mailman is just another change that makes me feel sad and wish things could just sort of stay the same least the good things- like him!

Hopefully, USPS will find ONE mail carrier to handle our route and he or she will wave and say hi, they'll learn our names and we'll learn there's-- but, won't be the same.

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