"There once was a postman. He delivered mail -- watching, listening, reading. He was 'odd', thought Mary Catherine Yablonski. Mary Catherine played a Merle Haggard single, 'Okie From Muskogee', in rotation with Puccini and a compilation of polkas, played on accordion, on a burnt-umber bakelite record player she had purchased with S&H Green Stamps.
"She was afraid of certain returned Vietnam vets. They were 'odd', she thought. Something had happened to them over there and it wasn't good. They left Shortstops and Produce Clerks and came back Questioners -- many poetic and and angry: un-American.
"Mary Catherine heard that her postman was a Vietnam veteran. He smiled a lot, or frowned. Wore his hair a bit to long. She confided in her mother that he 'smelled of marijuana.' She really didn't know what burning hemp smelled like. She wrote in her diary that 'he is cute and makes me nervous.' He handed her her Readers Digest once, touching her right thumb. She trotted to the kitchen and drank a coffee cup of cooking sherry.
"Then he stopped delivering her mail. Her new mailman was a middle-aged career letter carrier with big feet and a soggy, dripping cigar plugged into his face like a bristling growth. She timidly asked the new mailman where the old mailman went. He responded, 'That Hippie, he's gone to California or some other Commie place, he thinks he's a singer.' The New Mailman then pointed to the American Flag decal on her window, nodded and winked.
"A year later Mary Catherine went to the record store to buy the latest Lawrence Welk recording for her mother on her birthday. Standing at the counter, waiting to pay, she witnessed the clerk excitedly telling the customer in front of her about a new record by a local guy that used to deliver mail. The clerk picked up the album cover and started waving it around.
"It was him, the 'odd' mailman. Mary Catherine turned, put the Lawrence Welk record back in the bin, quickly exiting the store. She walked back home, wiping tears away from her lightly powdered cheek with her red, white and blue nylon head scarf..." From "An American Love Story" By Franklin Cincinnatus