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Men like Arthur and Mortimer

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On cook's night out we went again to the Spinnaker, which had haddock this time, and there was merriment in the salon de reception. There, too, was Eleanor , our mail lady (what doth the purifier with a mail lady?), and she told us a little retirement party was being held for Arthur Anderson. I have never considered retirements occasions of joy, and I have never offered congratulations to the guests of honor. There need be no sadness of farewell, either, but I think it's wrong to jump up and cheer when somebody goes down the drain. Particularly Arthur. ''HIM?'' I chirped.

''Well - he's fifty-five!''

Arthur is - was - postmaster at neighboring Thomaston (04861) and our R.F.D. mail lady was there as an esoteric member of the postal sodality. Arthur, in the blush and pink of early manhood, with many years of great future, had a posy in his lapel and seemed pleased. I intruded on his celebration long enough to shake his hand and lament his appointment had proved only temporary. I assume the occasion was favored by a letter from the postmaster general and another from the President, which goes to show. If they had any sense, they'd hang onto a good thing and keep Arthur going for a long time to come. We need men like him.

No doubt there are many more like him, but there are also post offices that lack the friendly warmth of the Thomaston facility as generated by Arthur. The first time I stepped in, he was behind the counter and didn't know me from Adam's off ox. But he gave me a rousing good morning anyway, as if we had been boyhood chums and had swiped apples together from the Widow Gleason's Hitop Sweet. Nobody ever caught Arthur twice, and the next time I stepped in he had done his homework and called me by name. By this genial policy, he kept me and everybody else in pleasant cahoots, and we all worked assiduously for the good of the postal service and the welfare of mankind. It is a shame that a good man of his perceptions is moved along while he still has much to offer and might stay on and on and solve some problems.

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