hydrangea blossoming

hydrangea blossoming
Hydrangea on the Edge of Blooming

Sunday, February 3, 2013


Lisa is retiring (has retired by today) from the point Roberts post office.  I do think of the library and the Community Center as the heart of the community, but the post office is like some other organ...maybe the nervous system which does symbolic communication.  It's very important to us and, of course, the only reason that it hasn't been eliminated as so many postoffices in tiny town have been is because the post office here, as a financial matter, is primarily supported by Canadians who, it should be noted are not acting out of generosity but in their own interests.  And it's ok to act in your own interests, which most of us are doing most of the time.  There is a place for generosity, but I'll leave that discussion for another time.

In my earlier life, I lived in Los Angeles and came to own a hearty dislike of the postal system.  There was a daily mail delivery guy and he was doubtless okay, but I never actually saw him due to the location of the mail box and the location of me in the house and he mostly (no fault of his) delivered--in the pre-internet days--endless junkmail.  So, how I interacted with the USPO, as it was then called, was at the local office where people were hired to sit or stand and largely chat with one another while the 'patrons' (I loved the concept behind that word in this context) stood in ever-lengthening lines.  The employees couldn't find mail, couldn't figure out what you were asking about, or, in my favorite experience, couldn't sell you stamps because the employee in question had 3- or 4-inch long fingernails and was unable to pick individual stamps up.

I tried never to go near the post office if I could help it.

And then I moved to Point Roberts where the post office employees were always helpful, knew your name, spoke cheerfully, and conducted your business promptly and competently.  I thought I might have absent-mindedly moved to another country where the post office was a perfected social institution.  But it wasn't; it was just Point Roberts, where Shelly and Pauli and Lisa and Tom (and then Michael and Rimple and others to follow) did good work.  

Over the years, I have seen Shelly retire, and then Pauli, and now Lisa.  But I have confidence that they have themselves created the kind of culture that will be carried on.  Tom and Rimple: It's up to you, for starters.

Lisa, we will miss you.  But we really hope that we will not be missing the kind of gracious, good-natured competence that you always gave us.

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