People: Johnny Harmon, a mail carrier for 36 years

August 09, 2004|TODD KLEFFMAN

When Johnny Harmon walked away from his job last month, he had logged nearly 36 years - and roughly 40,000 miles on foot - as a mail carrier for the U.S. Postal Service in Danville.

"I walked all over town, and I made a thousand friends," Harmon said. "I really miss all those people, but I thought I'd move on out and give a young person a chance at a job."

Harmon, 55, got a similar break not long after he graduated from Boyle County High School in 1967. He headed off to college "but decided I was smart enough, so I quit." He joined the post office and never looked back. He spent 17 years as a foot carrier and 18 years on driving routes.

"Lyndon Johnson was president when I started. That's a long time ago," he said. "When I first began, there were 28 people employed there. Twenty-two of them are dead now. That 36 years went by so fast, you hardly realized they happened. It's been a pretty good job. It didn't make me rich, but it paid the bills."


A month into his retirement, Harmon keeps busy with the 170-acre farm off Short Line Road just outside of Perryville where he raises tobacco and cattle.

"I'm not much of a rocking chair guy," he said. "I've been trying to catch up on a lot of things around the farm I didn't have time for when I was working."

Harmon also still finds time to pursue one of his loves, softball, though not quite at the same competitive level as when he was part of three state championship teams and several runners-up.

"I've played all my life, and I still play on a church league team, but I don't know if you'd call what I do now playing ball," said Harmon, who starred in baseball, football and basketball in high school.

He's also beginning to take up golf, though he admits "I've still got a long way to go there."

So far, Harmon has been able to keep himself occupied enough that he hasn't driven his wife, Judy, to distraction. But he's not sure yet what will keep him busy when the weather turns colder.

"I like being outside," he said. "I haven't figured out yet what I'm going to do in the winter."

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