Today’s Internet news features a postman who has served a community far beyond what was expected of him. As I read through the article I remembered Teed, our long serving postman I knew a lifetime ago. Teed was a slender man with round, John Lennon glasses. He was soft-spoken with a smile for everyone and I never saw him without his fedora hat. I was very young – preschool age – when the fetching of a pint of whipping cream first brought him to my attention.
“Mildred, would you have a pint of whipping cream?” Mom asked of the dairy farmer’s wife she’d reached by phone.
Of course I didn’t hear Mildred’s response, but an hour later when we walked the quarter-mile to the mailbox Mom retrieved a pint canning jar of whipping cream with her name on the lid. Teed had delivered it as a neighborly gesture.
During World War II almost everything of any value was on the rationing list and if one didn’t have the proper stamp it couldn’t be purchased at any price. Yet, Mom found a way to purchase a broadcast receiver from Sears Roebuck. The year was probably 1942. I may have been five years old. Many things occurring in the adult world went unnoticed. Including the purchase of radios and the difficulty encountered doing so. I first became aware of this radio business after Teed left a note in the mailbox. It stated that a large package from Chicago was bound for our address. He would deliver it the following day.
The note caused a great deal of excitement and I was caught up in it.
The following morning we pulled my red wagon to the mailbox and waited for Teed’s arrival. Directly, I heard the chuckle of his Model A Ford and then the clatter of the bridge planks as he crossed over Walnut Creek. There were three dips in the road between the creek and our mailbox and each time he topped a rise his John Lennon glasses caught the light and I was reminded of the newsreels I’d seen of navy ships sending Morse to one another during radio silence. Soon, Teed brought his car to a halt and lifted a package from the back seat.
“It’s a radio,” Mom said.
“If weight is any measure of quality, it must be a good one,” he said, the veins in his forehead bulging as he carefully sat the package in my wagon. Then, touching the brim of his fedora, he slid beneath the wheel and set out to finish his route.
A few years later, Teed announced his forthcoming retirement. It did not go unnoticed. At the old one-room school, Greenview, an ice cream social and farewell party was set into motion. Like the featured in today’s Internet news, the many whose lives he’d touched were sorry to see him go.