Signed, sealed and retired
I’d like to salute one of our town’s beloved civil servants, postman Jack Harris. Jack has been the legendary Aspen West End route mailman for 32 years and is retiring Friday, May 30, when the last letter has been delivered and not a moment sooner. Be sure to bid him farewell.
There was a truly memorable soiree in his honor at the Aspen Center for Physics last Friday, which was attended by a whole cast of West End neighbors from the past and present. Jack was there, in full postal garb, greeting everyone as they walked in. His brother and I hypothesized that Jack has delivered over 15 miles of letters stacked on end ” as mail is measured. I marveled at all the joy and misery that Jack delivered me over the years, from concert tickets, to really bad grades. Seeing Jack there in his uniform reminded me suddenly of the time my father hastily schemed for me to be an Aspen postman … no doubt inspired by Jack.
One day a thick manual arrived, a SAT-esque test-training text on how to study for the complex postal exam. After weeks of dedicated study, and mind-numbing mock tests, the date was upon me. I arrived at the Holiday Inn in West Glenwood, with my No. 2 pencil and text in hand, and proceeded to the meeting space where the test was being held.
As I walked in, the place looked like a bomb had gone off ” scattered desks, strewn chairs, broken pencils and chads littered the ballroom floor. There was a lone janitor trying to make some sense of it all. As he looked at me with a “now what?!” smirk, I asked him when the postal exam was. He informed me I had missed it by one day, one day too late, that is. The drive home was long and fretful, planning a credible excuse to my dad.
Could I have been a West End postman? I’ll never know. But had I, it remains highly doubtful I would’ve pulled it off with a modicum of the expertise that Jack Harris brought to the job every day for the last 32 years. Thank you for the memories, Jack! We’ll miss you.
Lorenzo Semple III