It is an ongoing discussion – this Retirement Thing. I maintain that the definition of the word means “getting tired again” – Re-Tired – it is not always an easy phase of life to achieve. I have been Re-Tired for fifteen years….and find life exhilarating with new mountains/challenges to scale. New challenges that begin with, “I wonder if I could….”
As I watch our first retiring child prepare for a life of ease, I wonder what new vistas he will find in life. He will find his way into ‘Re-Tire-Ment’ and a new way to ‘get tired’.
While preparing for a new phase in our ‘Re-Tire-Ment’, I found stack of yellowed papers, notes that my Dad, Herman Siemens, gave Mother long ago. They chronicle the life of a Rural Mail Carrier from 1945 to 1963. Dad became ‘regular’ employee of the post office in 1935 – a cause for family celebration. When the school nurse who declared my teeth were ‘regular’, I announced, “My Dad is regular, too!”
Dad drove 73 miles a day in the countryside that featured dirt roads that became slick in the rain. He delivered mail to 202 mail boxes that represented 218 families. Families.who soon became close friends through the years. Dad accumulated 33 years of serice.
Our four children remember the treat of going on the ‘mail-rock’ with their Grandpa. Miles and miles of roads on a summer day were interrupted with patron’s hellos and a picnic with Grandpa Siemens on long summer days were long remembered. Their joy reminded me of the fun of riding in the parcel post truck when a young girl with my Dad.
Dad grew up on the farm in western Oklahoma with three brothers and one sister. Nothing was more fun than a Siemens reunion and listening to stories of growing up on the farm. The laughter has echoed down through the years and manifested in his sense of humor. Dad had a deep faith in God that grew deeper. Dad always wanted to do his best and help others. Being a rural mail carrier gave him the opportunity for quiet time with the Lord and helping others.
What did those notes contain that Dad received? Each one could be a story, bringing laughter, tears, or heart ache. Space will not allow all of these brief vignettes, but here is a sampling, mis-spellings included:
• The elderly bachelor never had much mail, but he had an old lard can tied to the post for his packages. Just before Christmas this note was in his box: To mail carrier, If I should have a package, put it in the can, or if it can’t go in just set it on ground. He did get a large package just a few days later. It easily went into the lard can!
• Then there are social obligations that must be kept: Dear Herman, Would you please put this wedding gift in I’s box at Carlton? They will deliver it for me. The boys have the pickup and my daughter has the car, so I have no way to go. If there is a charge on this delivery, put the amount on the bottom of this note and I’ll leave the money tomorrow. Thanks a million.
• A frequent note that came often: Mr. Mail.Man, Please leave me 50 cents Worth of stomped. Envelopes. You have them. Think you. The next note came with the exact wording except it was for 75 cents.
• With some very good apples came this note: Mr. Siemens, we have apples if you care for them. They are all gathered at the house. Here is a few for you to see. The hail scared them some. Thanks.
• At the increase in of stamp prices came this one: Are stamps 4 cents now? If so, will I have to pay more to forward these letters to my son? Here is 84 cents for stamps. Many thanks for the nice apricots.
• There never seemed to be any racial trouble. Integration in the countryside was alive and well, even if they had little in common or knew their names. Mr. Siemens, I don’t know if I’ve spelled this name right or not. It’s that old yellow black man over west of here. Wish you would cancel the stamp and drop this today. (They like the the same day service on the route with notes that read “Mr. Seamon, would you drop this letter today? As ever.”)y
• A pretty young coed wrote: Dear Mr. Siemens, Here I am again asking another favor of you. Would you please take this quarter and put an airmail stamp on this letter to New Zealand? I believe it is 25 cents per ounce..so I think that will be enough. Thank you very much. Sincerely.
• Gifts – if you come to the house: I have something for you at the house – Steve (a box of tiny baby rabbits)
Here is your water melon. Hope it is ripe (It was)
Ice box melons for you. Will have larger melons ripe soon, so be looking for one.
• When inquiring, “Who is Mary Jane?”: Mary Jane is my 6 week old baby girl. She is expecting a package from Mrs. C of MO.
• The inevitable licking of stamps….: Find $1.00 in box, please stamp two letters and leave reminder in stamps. Thanks Mrs. J..
• Wouldn’t it be nice to know that our mistakes could be rectified with a call to Mother and a note from her: Dear Herman, Do us a favor, will you? BJ called us last night from college and wanted us to see that a letter that she wrote to her Grand is removed from the mail before she gets it. The reason for this is that her Grandmother’s sister died and Grandma is all upset about that and our daughter’s letter was in a facetious vein about Christmas, etc., and she is afraid her letter will further upset Grandma. When the letter comes (postmarked S…) put it in our box, will you? Thanks.
• The pretty blonde wrote: Please leave my package standing by the mail box. I will get it right away!
• Forgetful husbands helped: Mr. Seiman, will you please mail this package? Bob forgot it this am when he went to town. You will have it insured for $3.00 and thank you a million. Mrs. B
Dad delivered baby chicks, putting them in the coop with water and feed, arranged for music for a wedding, translated a letter in German for one mail recipient. The farmer who came to help with a newly graded road after a rain, or a pull with a tractor when stuck in the snow. Or at Halloween, a note attached to a cardboard box…Please leave mail here. The kids ran off with our mailbox. Romance blossomed as Dad noticed a blushing lass at the box waiting for a special letter.
When I think of his faithfulness to the work God led him to, I am reminded of this scripture.
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17
My eyes will be on the faithful in the land, that they may dwell with me; the one whose walk is blameless will minister to me. Psalm 101:6
The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy. Psalm 111:7
The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy. Proverbs 12:22