Coworkers were more like friends for Steve Harris on Thursday.
After delivering mail in Carthage for 38 years, Harris celebrated his last day with the post office Thursday with friends and family. He didn't have to say much, his smile said it all.
“You would think after so many years I'd have something prepared to say, but I don't,” he told coworkers, supervisors and family members gathered that morning. “I can't say I'll miss the work, but I will miss all of you. I believe we have a post master that has great people skills and she's helped me a lot.”
A “Satchel Survivor Award,” was presented to Harris. Post Master Frances Boman gave him with a little retirement kit, which included Icy Hot, shoe insoles and men's health formula. Harris' wife, Tammy, who was taking pictures and enjoying the moment, was also given a planner with pens to help with her husband's “busy schedule” after Thursday.
“Seriously though,” Boman told Harris, “congratulations and good luck.”
When Harris started at the post office in 1974, he said he made $4.33 an hour. He said he's seen many changes over the years, and made some good memories.
“I think one of the funniest things that ever happened to me was it was Christmastime, and I was picking up packages down the street,” Harris said. “I came to this one box that had a big, aluminum package and when I picked it up I could smell that it was ham. I started down the street with it, and I heard this guy behind me yelling, 'Hey! What are you doing? My neighbor gave that to me!'”
Everyone listening to the story laughed.
“Yeah, that comes up every year,” Harris said with an embarrassed grin. “He was pretty irate with me.”
Adding to the memorable moments, Harris' mom, Bonnie, and brother, Mike (Carthage Mayor) said they remembered when Harris passed the post office exam.
“I remember being so excited when he came home and told us,” Bonnie said. “It was a really difficult thing.”
Three already-retired mail carriers returned on Thursday to bid Harris a happy retirement; Leroy Kisling, Gary Greenwood and Steve Watts. Between all of them, they had 136 years of service to Carthage.