HOLT, Fla., Oct. 14, 2021–A change is coming to Holt.
After seven years as officer-in-charge of the Holt Post Office, Joyce Arnett is turning over the baton to someone else.
Friday is her last day.
A Holt native, Arnett graduated from Baker High School in 1979. Since June 2014, she has been the smiling face behind the counter ensuring Holt mail got to its right destinations.
“This season of my life has come to an end,” Arnett said philosophically about her retirement. “It’s time to go pursue other things.”
After it’s said and done, Arnett says she certainly won’t miss the work. It’s the people she’ll miss the most.
“After seven years, slowly without realizing it, people let me into their lives and they became a part of my life,” she said. “Some unknowingly came in and put the only smile on my face all day.”
And without knowing it, the people of Holt let Arnett into their lives. Her retirement will break some of those ties.
“I’m not going to know how that errant child is doing. How someone’s dad’s operation went. If the goat died or what they named it,” she said. “I’m going to mourn the potential loss of the people I’m not going to see every day.”
What she’ll miss the least is the government bureaucracy. And the forms. And the antiquated machinery that tags every package that leaves Holt. And the pressures that come from being the only employee in an active post office.
Besides the people, Arnett has a few stand-out memories from her time as OIC of the post office.
For instance, she accepted one indistinguishable package that began to stand out from the others. As the day went on, it began emitting a stronger and stronger aroma. The odor got so strong, she had to open the back door. Concerned, she contacted the sender only to find out the package contained kimchi, a Korean fermented cabbage or radish dish.
Another time was a bit more scary. A man entered the post office demanding Arnett cash his money order, except it was a receipt, not the money order itself. She tried reasoning with him, and after screaming at her, he finally left. An alert neighbor called the sheriff’s office after finding a man hiding on his porch from two other men who were allegedly planning to rob the post office as part of that same incident.
On a lighter note, a repairman showed up after Arnett reported the air conditioning was not working. He asked her for a flashlight. When she passed him her pink taser flashlight, she saw him react to the color. A short moment later, as she was helping a customer, she heard a noise followed by “a bad word.” Realizing the repairman tasered himself, Arnett hollered out, “I’m sorry!” while her inner voice said, “Laugh at my pink flashlight again.”
Arnett offers a word of caution to post office box owners: The walls between the outer office and inner office are thin, so conversations tend to travel. That’s all she’ll say about that.
A native Holtite, Arnett plans to continue to spend time here. Once or twice a month, she plans to have lunch at Susan’s Restaurant just to reconnect with the people she’s come to know.
“Can someone please come see me and tell me how the goats are?” she said.