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August 21, 2009
Where Have You Gone, Jim Dodt?
favorite mail carrier retired recently. Jim Dodt wasn’t special because of
the neat things he slipped into our mailbox six days a week.
like bills and magazines filled with color photos of goofy ceramic lawn
ornaments and bills and invitations to free pork chop dinners sponsored by
so-called retirement investment counselors and bills and discount coupons
from fast-food restaurants and bills.
Dodt was special because of the way he delivered mail.
Winter, summer, spring and fall he always showed up at our place with a
bounce in his step and a smile as big as Texas on his face. He was never too
much in a hurry to chit-chat for moment or two, either.
who started his career as Christmas help in 1975, has lugged the mail in our
town in all kinds of weather for nearly 35 years.
first wife Sally and I have had dozens of mail carriers during our 46 years
of wedded bliss.
then along came Jim Dodt.
see, toting the mail in sleet and snow and on August afternoons when the
temperature outside is pushing 100 degrees wasn’t exactly one of my “dream
jobs” when I was a young man. It was right up there . . . no . . . better
make that right down there with trapeze artist, coal miner,
astronaut and deep-sea diver.
wasn’t too hot on the idea of becoming a professional boxer or a ballet
Jim made carrying the mail look like a barrel of fun six days a week and in
all kinds of weather. Jim and I never had any lengthy, two-hour
conversations or anything like that. Most days, it was a quick and friendly
swapping of “hellos” or a few comments about the weather or some other
Another thing about Jim is that over the years he delivered more to our
front door than just bills and such. Lots of times he also brought us
precious pieces of mail, like Christmas, birthday and anniversary cards from
our children, letters from long-lost friends and relatives, retirement
checks and some really swell fishing magazines.
said, Jim Dodt has called it a career. And we’re already missing him.
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