I was chatting with dad last night when he dropped a small bombshell on me - he's changing delivery routes.
My dad, for those of you who don't know, is a mailman. Or a letter carrier. Or a postman. Or whatever you want to call him. For the better part of the past 35 years he's gotten up at 6:30 a.m., been into the office at 7 a.m. to sort mail and then on the streets by 8:30 a.m. He now has the most seniority of any postman in St. John's and says he's going to retire next March. Frankly, I'll believe it when I see it. He still loves the job. He likes the exercise. He likes meeting people along the route. And he loves not being in an office with a supervisor lurking around.
He does his thing and gets paid well for it.
For the past 25 odd years he's had the same route, which is in Virginia Park in the east end of St. John's. By pure coincidence (not really) his house happens to be on this route. It's been a real convenience for him. He gets to know all the neighbours, gets a ton of recognition and respect (people in the neighbourhood love my father and instantly recognize him) and can have lunch at home. He can also, which is one of those things that people in the neighbourhood love, take his dog along part of the route with him. He did it with Sera for her brief life (killed by a car over a weekend and the bitch of a driver sued my dad for damages to her car and won) and he's done it with Abby.
There's just something about the postman coming to your house with a big, bouncy Golden Retriever trailing behind that people think is cool.
It was cool enough that I successfully pitched an idea to CBC's Outfront about dad, Abby and delivering mail to the same neighbourhood. Sadly, it never got made because myself and the producer had a disagreement over the piece. She felt it lacked enough of a grab and wanted to work in how I felt about my parents divorce as I was preparing to get married myself. It was an area I had zero interest in telling. I wanted to produce something nice for my dad, like I had with Dups and his citizenship ceremony.
I should say that while I think it's cool now, growing up it kind of sucked, especially in university. If you had a bad semester you could try and grab the marks and hide them from your folks. No such luck with your dad delivers the marks, hands them to you and waits for you to open them in front of him. That rather sucks.
Anyway, I thought my dad would be on the route until he retired. It just seemed appropriate. But according to the conversation last night, he started a new route today. He no longer delivers in Virginia Park. He's moved to around the Stirling Crescent/Newfoundland Drive area. Apparently he wanted a bit of a change of pace. Also, the new route is a bit easier. The townhouses of Virginia Park can be a bitch to deliver to during the winter
(It apparently had nothing to do with his Father's Day gift - The Oxford Atlas of the World - which he apparently put on a scale and discovered weight about 17 pounds.)
I was just about bowled over. He's talked about it before, but I never thought he would do it. People in the neighbourhood are appalled and have apparently called Canada Post to protest, which is weird, touching and amusing all in one.
The fact that he did this makes me think that he might actually be serious about the whole retiring thing. I suspect that's going to be an interesting trauma for both of us. Him, adapting to life without work. Me, for having a dad who is old enough to be "retired."
By the way, on the off-chance any of his co-workers are reading this, go easy on the mocking, okay?