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Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart

Even though I’ve been an “orphan” for too many years, my parents’ imprints on my life remain locked in my memory and surface in the most unusual places.

Now that I travel to our own city post office with its usual long line of customers, I always spend my waiting time recalling my childhood post office. That was where Daddy, my mailman, dumped the large duffel bags of letters and junk mail onto a well-worn oak desk that looked up to a network of pigeon holes. He knew that wall of names like a computer keyboard and would deal mail into those small cubicles reminiscent of a seasoned card shark.

When he got all the mail sorted, he would stack it in order of his route and pull the mail tight with a leather strap. Next he would check his mammoth leather satchel for a supply of stamps, money orders and change. I never thought much about that man-size satchel when I saw it in its delegated spot on the floorboard near him, but I recall it while waiting my turn at our post office.

In our local post office, there are usually two clerks stationed behind a counter with weighing scales and electronic equipment that spits out labels and receipts. Daddy learned to weigh packages in his hand — a feat that amazed me and saved his patrons a trip to the post office.

Today’s stamps come in small cards or rolls. Those stamps will get a letter mailed but not with the touch that my daddy had when he would reach into his leather pouch, count out stamps from sheets and place them in his patrons’ mailboxes.

His stamp purchasers would leave a small note in their mailboxes requesting stamps. Sometimes their change was piled onto the note, in an envelope or rolled up in paper. Some of his patrons never seemed to leave enough change, but Daddy always left them stamps and paid the balance out of his pocket.

Our city “postlady” is easy to spot in her little white city vehicle, but I wonder how she would like driving a Volkswagen. Daddy discovered it to be his vehicle of choice due to its miserliness with gas in its daily 80-mile route and its adaptability to gravel roads.

I will always think of Daddy when I place a letter in our mailbox. I do it the way that accommodates a postal worker — that’s leaning the letter upright against the wall of the mailbox. Then I lift the flag reminding that special worker that I’ve got mail.

Next I thank God for the best postman I ever knew — a godly daddy who taught me by example to be a servant and to honor God with, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord.” 

Letters to Camille Anding can be sent to P.O. Box 551, Brookhaven, MS, 39602, or e-mailed to camille@datalane.net.