The smell of grilled burgers and franks filled the air and friendly chatter set the mood throughout the courtyard barbecue. Suddenly, the group beside me lowered their voices and began discussing someone with a tone of sadness. At first, I thought someone was ill or even worse, died. Not the case! The conversation was about our mailman, Tom, who had just retired. Stories were exchanged and I joined the group as we each confirmed our fondness for him.
Most mail carriers are hard-working, efficient and above all, courteous. Tom was all that, but so much more. We were always guaranteed a big friendly smile on a scorching summer’s day or a frost-bitten winter’s morning. I’ve seen him patiently hold a handful of letters in the maillot so a child, smiling in delight, could retrieve them and take them to her mom. With pounds of mail slung over his shoulder he would stop and carry an elderly woman’s packages up the stairway or assist a young mother who just dropped her baby’s tote bag. Personally, I was fortunate to have him place my mail on my foyer table since he knew my injured back prevented me from bending down. His acts of kindness were endless.
If you had witnessed the exchange of admiration at the barbecue, you would have felt you were in a “Modern Day Mayberry.” One neighbor told of his days in the Navy when he wrote home to his folks. He always included a “Hi Tom” on the side of his postcard.
He took time to loosen stubborn pickle jar lids, took a minute to listen to the scrambled words of an autistic boy and informed residents when their postage was inadequate. These daily kindnesses were not uncommon.
Someone also mentioned that “Tommy” never had his hand out for a tip. People displayed their appreciation with hot chocolate and cold water, depending on the weather, or a simple candy treat.
One would guess Tom’s little special services would affect mail delivery. Not true! I could set my clock with his timely delivery. He could move!
I never knew his full name. To most he was referred to as “Tommy, the mailman.” I kidded him once that he was “The Angel Mailman.”
So… “Tommy Angel Mailman,” if you’re reading this, I believe it would be fair to say all of us at Truesdell Village wish you a wonderful retirement! Also, best wishes to you and your family for a healthy, happy life. We will sorely miss your efficient service and most of all “You Just Being You.”
—Diana “DeeGee” Beasley