Darrell Lowe moved to Warner Robins 40 years ago this past week.
He arrived the day before Groundhog Day. After spending most of that winter of 1970 at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota, where the average high temperature for January is 18 degrees, Warner Robins seemed more like "Warmer" Robins. The day he pulled into town it was a balmy 57 degrees.
He lived in a trailer on Feagin Mill Road. And he went to the post office on North Davis Drive, just one block from the city's main business hub around Commercial Circle, to rent a P.O. box.
He doesn't remember how much the box cost him, but a stamp back in those days was a whopping 6 cents.
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Darrell turned 80 years old back in August — he was born two months before the Great Depression — and not too many octogenarians have the desire or energy to raise a little heck.
But all this talk about closing the North Davis post office really gets his goat. The old man even walked across Young Avenue the other day to sign a petition.
He doesn't sign many petitions or join in many protests. But he did this time.
"It kind of gripes me," he said. "I'm teed off. We have all this bailout money. Why don't they bail out the post office?"
The full-service post office, which is celebrating its 50th year in operation this year, is scheduled to close Friday.
Mayor Chuck Shaheen isn't happy about it. City Council isn't happy about it. A resolution was approved last week requesting the U.S. Postal Service to "reconsider and rescind" its plans to close the mail office.
For Darrell, a stop by the North Davis post office is part of his daily routine.
There are 3,720 P.O. boxes lining the walls, but No. 714 is the most important to him.
It's on the left when you enter from the side door, almost in the middle four rows down and six boxes over.
It's chest high, so he doesn't have to stand on his toes to reach the combination or stoop to retrieve his mail.
It costs him $44 a year to rent the box. That comes to 12 cents a day.
Although he has his mail sent to Warner Robins, Darrell lives in Bibb County, off Ga. 247 on Griffin Road, just north of the airport.
It's 8.9 miles from his front door to his mailbox at the post office, and he usually runs errands on the days he gets his mail or stops by at the local VFW.
It's actually closer (7.6 miles) for him to travel to the Rocky Creek branch in Macon.
But he has a long and loyal history with the facility on North Davis. Driving his GMC truck to the post office at 904 Russell Parkway will add 26 blocks of intense traffic.
Darrell spent 28 years in the Air Force, and flew 253 combat missions as a wing gunner on B-52s in five tours of Vietnam and Southeast Asia.
"I know a lot of people from the north side of Warner Robins and south Bibb County who use this post office," he said. "I've made friends with some of the people who work here. They take good care of my mail when I go out of town.
"I just wish there was a way to cut expenses instead of just shutting it down. I don't think the higher-ups always care about the citizens."
Reach Gris at 744-4275 or firstname.lastname@example.org