The Eve of Retirement 

Today is my husband Paul’s big moment — his last day as a letter carrier.  He has finally fulfilled the requirement of 55 years of age and 30 years of service.  He’s been excited about making this change for months now, and the day has arrived at last.

Yesterday they had a little party for him at the P.O.  They told him he could make a speech to everyone and say whatever he wanted to.  If you knew Paul, you would have already guessed — he told them how he came to know the Lord, and invited them all to give their hearts to Jesus.  They gave him a large crystal eagle sculpture, and he brought home enough leftover cake to add five pounds to his wife’s hips.  (No, I will NOT let that happen!)   They also chipped in for a monetary gift, which was overwhelmingly generous.

Truth be known, letter carriers are like Marines: once a Marine, always a Marine; once a postal worker, always a postal worker.  Paul will still make snide remarks about FedEx every time we pass one of their trucks on the street.  He will continue to roll his eyes in contempt every time his wife runs to the UPS station with a package that must get somewhere within days (not weeks).

Paul has always loved his job.  He has built mutual bonds with many of his customers and fellow workers through the years.  He has helped them with their postal frustrations, listened to their personal troubles here and there, and prayed with them when they or their families were sick, most of the time on off-duty hours.  He’s kept an eye on the elderly by letting their families know when they haven’t emptied the mailbox for a few days.  Small wonder that postal workers are the most trusted government employees in the nation.

Some of his customers know frightening amounts of details about our personal life — not because Paul has told them, but because they have gone to great lengths to find out for themselves.   They know how many kids we have, their names, and how old they are.  They know exactly when Paul comes home for lunch — and call or show up on the doorstep for personal attention during that time.  I’m hoping they don’t know our social security or bank account numbers.  When the girls were small, there were special little gifts just for them from some of the grannies at Christmas time.  If people are going to know so much about us, at least it’s good that they like us!

It’s going to be a big adjustment for Paul’s girlies, having him home with us so much.  He has volunteered to help with the home schooling.  We’ll see.  People who had to take remedial math courses throughout high school should not be teaching their daughters algebra.  But we may let him get his fingers in on the science labs or let him expound on Civil War history once in awhile.  (And shop class — he can teach shop.  Beebee informed me the other day that she has no clue how to use the back side of a hammer to remove a nail from the wall, so she hurt her fingers trying to do it bare-handed.  We will have to explain shop class, or she will think Daddy is going to give her a guided tour of Old Navy and Target.)

Paul does have some plans for his future — and God has bigger plans for him than Paul does!  (So does my mom.  She can’t wait to have her own personal lawn care and maintenance man.)  But we’ll let the ol’ guy have the first few weeks to just enjoy doing whatever he pleases — unless he starts to drive us nuts, in which case we’ll launch him into his future career sooner than he anticipated!

I suppose I will have to tell thirty years’ worth of postal anecdotes in days to come.  Some are pretty entertaining.  I feel a series coming on!

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