Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Brown (11/26/09)
TITLE: CHARLIE AKA BILL
By Jean Beier
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Charlie was our mail carrier. He worked the same route until the day he retired. It’s not that way these days. You can have a different carrier every other day or week, which doesn’t give the same opportunity for relationships to develop.
But with Charlie, everyone on his route knew him and he knew us. His appearance each day was especially looked forward to by the children and the pets. Examples being my own two young sons, and their dog named Fonzie.
I never had trouble knowing when mail was on its way, as I would hear the children’s chanting, Charlie! Charlie! And of course there was the barking hello from Fonzie.
Busy as Charlie was, he always made time for the children. They would gather behind him and keep him company, while walking the rest of the street, and delivering the mail and packages. He would throw rubber bands over his shoulder. The children would grab them up as treasures of gold. I don’t even want to imagine what uses they dreamed up for them. Most likely they were secrets kept between them and their mailman friend.
Fonzie was a mixture of miniature and toy poodle. One of his parents was brandy in color and the other white. This gave Fonzie a coat of white with brandy shading mixed in. His size made him look like a puppy well into his old age. I am partial, but he was the cutest and most loveable dog that ever graced this earth. Charlie recognized this, and Fonzie became his honorary family dog. I’d be hard pressed to judge who looked forward to their daily visits the most.
Then came the day when Charlie decided that he and Fonzie needed more together time, so just like that Charlie scooped up the dog, and placed him into his brown leather delivery bag, and off they went. I stood looking out my window with mouth open in surprise and awe. I watched as they went down the street and back. Peeking out the bag, Fonzie had a look of complete joy and pleasure. He had indeed experienced a doggie dream come true.
Charlie was always giving children, dogs, and adults, surprises in their day. He did not just deliver mail. He entertained us, he loved us, he watched over us. He would notice when mail piled up and would check to whether we were ill or had a problem. Charlie worked for the Lord.
The local newspaper was what brought us the bad news. Our beloved mail carrier was going into his well deserved retirement. What came as a total surprise was that Charlie was not Charlie. It turned out that the children had dubbed him Charlie and he graciously accepted. His given name was William (Bill) Smith. To family he was Bill, but to the children on his route, he was Charlie.
Years later I met him at a church I visited. He was a member there. We talked about the days when he was the mail carrier. He laughed as I told him for all those years I only knew him as Charlie. He told me that after retirement, he missed Fonzie so much that he went out and adopted a little poodle just like Fonzie and with the same coloring. Charlie, as I will always call him, talked about how much he missed the children, too.
Later, I shared with Charlie that he and Fonzie had the name change in common. Fonzie’s given name was Shaunze. When our family adopted him, the boys renamed him Fonzie. This gave Charlie another chuckle.
Charlie was for sure an exceptional mailman. He has since passed on and is with his beloved Jesus. I picture Fonzie there running and playing with him.
Charlie lived and worked his life as unto the Lord. He set the example for all who knew him. He is dearly missed.
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