"There's a Lot of Satisfaction in a Job Well Done"
An air of anticipation of “what next”
Now that I’ve retired it seems I have a lot more time to reflect on certain areas of my past. When I remember my whole Postal career, a time of nearly thirty-five years, I often recollect a close friend that has had a tremendous influence on my life since I first met him. He was a quiet man, never married, no more than a high school education if that. A content, love life to the fullest, patient, engaging, knowledgeable yet humorous man; I’ve made reference in earlier hubs to one Charles (Pepper) Smith. More affectionately known as just ‘Peppy’ to those of us that worked with him. He was a ‘card’ a ‘hoot’—I found out very early that the quiet atmosphere always present around the workroom floor could be said to be one of anticipation of “what next”. Everyone listened to hear the phrase or comment that would come on the spur of the moment from the eloquence of mind of none other than our beloved ‘Peppy’.
Cokes, saltine crackers and sliced Crown Bologna
I worked with Peppy daily when I first started with the United States Postal Service at Bluff City TN 37618, in June of 1973. He and I would arrive at the same time, until after my probationary period, and then he would come in sometimes thirty minutes later since he was senior to me would work straight through each day, but I had a split shift and had to work half a day in the mornings and ‘swing’ or leave for two or three hours then come back and work the window and close out the office in the afternoon. I didn’t mind this so much at first because it gave me exposure. Besides working the mail off and sorting it to the carriers in the mornings, we also worked the box section mail. It we got the mail up before 8:00 AM, one of us would go across the street to Thomas’ Store for cokes, saltine crackers and sliced Crown Bologna. The Postmaster said we deserved a little break if he, Peppy and I worked all the mail received that day to the box section and the five rural carriers for casing and delivery. That was our daily goal.
The postmaster just grinned and said, “he’s okay.”
Now it was during this working of the mail that Peppy or Pep for short was at his best. Usually all that could be heard was the swooshing of paper rubbing against paper as we worked handfuls of mail into the distribution cases for pickup on the other side by the carriers. So as the Postmaster and I worked off the letters Pep would work off the parcels and newspapers. It was while the carriers, the postmaster and I were sorting the mail that Peppy would let out, off the top of his head, “Wheeewy, this works killing me.” All the carriers would roar with laughter, knowing Peppy was not one to overexert himself. I thought he might be havin’ a spell or something at first, but the postmaster just grinned and said, “he’s okay.” If the radio happened to be on and a familiar song was playing, Pep would shout out, “What’s the name of that one, Herb?” And if Herb knew the title, he would tell Peppy while laughing. I guess you could say there was never a dull moment during the time we were all working the mail off each day. But my favorite remark of all that Peppy would make was after we had made our 8:00 deadline and we were all enjoying our crackers, bologna and Cokes, Pep would look me in the eye and say, “You know - There’s a lot of satisfaction in a job well done…”
© 2010 SamSonS
More by this Author
In "Mom's Old Flatiron", I try to show how times are certainly better now than they were when my parents were growing up...
In "We Heated with Coal", I try to convey the difficulties our family experienced heating our home during the 1950's...
In “Jumpin’ Trains”, I relate to one time I followed my big brother Jack just a little too far. I didn’t realize the danger that some bigger boys went to just to have some fun. Yes, I should...