The Keeper of My Secrets

I see my mailman around the neighborhood nearly every day. He always waves or says hello. He even recognizes me when I am in my car. I’ve noticed that he recognizes and waves to my daughter, Stephanie, as well. In fact, he knows everyone in the neighborhood. He should, he has been our mailman for thirteen years. So what occurred to me a few days ago was really quite embarrassing. I realized that although I see him at least a few times per week I do not know his name. So I determined to ask the next time I saw him.

Today was the day. He came up my steps with my mail in hand while I was sitting on my porch. I ventured, “You know, I realized that even though you bring this mail every day and I recognize you, I don’t know your name and you have probably have known mine for quite some time.” “My name is Julius,” he smiled and handed me a few envelopes. On the top of the stack was an item from Banana Republic, my new credit card, which I had not yet discussed with my husband.

As my eyes lingered on the bill it quickly occurred to me that this man knows a lot about me. He sees everything that comes to my mailbox, doctor bills, credit cards, letters, and IRS communications. You get the idea.  I said, “Wow, and you know so many of my secrets!”

“Yes, I do,” he said with a twinkle in his eye, “but I promised to keep them when I signed on with the Post Office.”

I was stunned, first by his response and then by the recognition of how many others  there must be that quietly serve me without my knowledge or notice, people who are part of my community, people who live and die in my neighborhood? What are their stories and their names? What richness my inattention has caused me to miss!  I immediately determined within myself to notice and to acknowledge them.

“Thank you for bringing my mail, Julius!”

“You are welcome, Deborah.” His eyes again twinkled a smile and went on his way.