Sunday, March 4, 2018
Robin Beane A Flower of the Heart
Sensation Cosmos on my dining table.
Flowers of the Heart Twenty-Three March 4, 2018
For Robin Beane
She’s a worker. Running a small post office
and two carrier routes has challenges thick
on the ground, but Robin has a tough spirit.
She holds it together even when her back
hurts or her teeth are killing her. Her first
job, when she took over, was winning us
over. We all loved Susan, whom she replaced.
Small post offices in rural North Carolina
are like general stores used to be. We love
to chat with our postmaster. We want to be
known, maybe even spoiled. Robin set out
to spoil us. Susan had lollipops for children.
Robin went farther. She put out candy for
adults, too. She was always glad to see us,
wished us a good day when we left. When
I got a box of books, she’d heft it onto
her shoulder and carry it to my truck. The
tradition of the mail must go through holds
here. She came in even on icy mornings.
The old building had its limitations, but
Robin worked to get things fixed: heating,
cooling, painting, steps (when a mail truck
backed into them). When you live alone, as
I do, and many others here, it’s cheering
to be welcomed, as if you’re important,
even treasured. It isn’t only me. I see
everyone who comes in regularly, enter
with the confidence that they’ll be
treated kindly, attentively. When Robin’s
back went out, we had subs. We were
relieved and joyful when Robin returned.
Her newest innovation is a thousand-piece
jigsaw puzzle laid out on the end of the
counter. She said it was for people who
had to wait. There is rarely a line in the
Moncure post office. I’ve been in offices
where there was always a line of a dozen
people waiting, and the person on the
window was surly. Not in Moncure. We
have high standards, and so does Robin.
To my surprise, people are filling in
the jigsaw. They’ve got the corners
and sides, and are now working on the
middle. We meet our neighbors there,
too, and say hello even when we don’t
know their names. People have been
given a jump when their battery died.
I had to wait for a tow truck once.
Robin came out to check on me. I’ve
asked men when they were at the
counter to carry a heavy box of books
to my truck, to save Robin’s back. Such
neighborliness is rare now in our
country, but it’s alive and well in
Robin’s post office.