One of my first impressions of the town of Ridgecrest took place at the Post Office. When we moved from the city to the desert one of the first things I did in town was to familiarize myself with the library and the Post Office.
The building itself is small but modern. It looks like any other post office built in the last few years. It is what takes place inside that distinguishes it from other Post Offices . The postal employees actually know their customers. The first time I stood in line to buy stamps (pretty ones, of course!) I noticed the employees asking their customers about their lives–not too personal, but personal enough to indicate that they knew them and were genuinely interested in them as people. They knew what was going on in each other’s lives. Wow. This was not an isolated incident. It was typical of conversations at the counter. I noticed that the people in line knew each other, too. Holy cow! We’re not in the big city anymore, Dorothy!
Then there are the Navy personnel and their wives. It is easy to tell which customers are Navy, either by uniform, haircut, or demeanor and carriage. Most of them are young. The enlisted men and women typically stay for 2 years then move on.
It was one particular postal employee who particularly delighted me. Not particularly pretty, plain even, she was genuinely friendly and, well, folksy. She cared about the details of my large manila envelope decorated with stickers. Without my asking, she went out of her way to find clear packing tape and cover the stickers so that they would not come off in transit. Another time she took my postcard and literally ran it to the back so that it would be posted immediately.
A pleasant introduction to small town life.