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View From the Post Office Bench


I’m perfectly angled. The late afternoon sun is kissing my face and warming my body during this unseasonably cold Florida winter. I am the observer as my town passes by.  Normally, I would be an active participant, but a recent injury has eliminated me from tennis, dance and Spa workouts. Like an injured football player, I’ve been benched. I’m temporarily engaged in a spectator sport. But what better place than on the Post Office bench.  A stranger approaches, smiling. “You’ve picked the perfect spot to sunbathe.”

I return to my props: my pen and a journal to edit. Purposeful activity, lest I appear to be loitering. But I continue to observe. Folks walk by leisurely. Tourists and Harborites. I can tell the difference. The tourists turn their heads from left to right, unrushed. Their gazes are searching, not sure what to expect. The Harborites are unrushed as well, but they know where they are and they know where they are headed. Their demeanor is more purposeful.

“Where have you been? I haven’t seen you in weeks!” It feels good to be missed. I give a brief accounting of my absence, happy to see this friend.  At one time or another, all townspeople eventually turn up at the Post Office.  I return to my editing.

Suddenly I’m jolted. A gray truck honks as it passes and the driver waves. Normally, to Southerners and mid-Westerners, the honking of a horn is a sign of rudeness and poor breeding. But this is my homey from Central Islip, so I wave enthusiastically. Honking is what we New Yorkers do.

Strangers smile and say hello. People pass by, alone, in couples, in families.  A mom and dad emerge from the building with two small children who carry packages more than half their size. The girl exclaims, “This is so heavy, what could it be?” I witness childhood eagerness. An unopened package represents mystery and excitement.

I don’t have to be dancing, playing tennis or working out to be active in my town. I can feel and participate in the vitality . . . from the Post Office bench.

written by Amy Bryant, Safety Harbor resident blogger

Amy Bryant

Author of You CAN Go Home Again


  1. Amy you write so beautifully. I never get tired of reading your blogs :). Hope to see you back on the tennis courts soon. Honk! Honk!

  2. Amy, You never cease to amaze me with your insights, your finger smack dab on the pulse of what is extraordinary in our everyday lives. Thanks from your homie.
    Much love and appreciation.

  3. Ah, there you are again – Amy! You took good advantage of that bench. I always see interesting people sitting there :).
    Love taking part in your keen observances. Glad you are feeling and walking better again.

  4. So sorry to hear you’ve been sidelined Amy. And glad you can still continue to treat us to your writings and observations. Be well!

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