Lake Montezuma, Arizona, is a teeny, tiny town or maybe a gistmedium-sized village in a big world.  When I came here several years ago, my first stop was the Post Office.  I wanted to ask whether my new home was in Lake Montezuma (86342), or Rimrock (86335).  I was warmly greeted by  Assistant Postmistress Tre. There was no big line for service in this Post Office, no red rope barrier hanging from yellow plastic posts. Tre soon introduced me to Postmistress Lisa as well.  These two charming and friendly ladies explained to me that, although I live within 100 feet of the Lake Montezuma Post Office, my address could be either Rimrock or Lake Montezuma, and that I did not need to put up a mailbox, as there is no mail delivery to my door.  They proceeded to rent me a PO Box, though they said I could also get a box from the Rimrock Post Office if I preferred.  Hmmmm. . .

 

Now, this might have discouraged some people, but to me it was absolutely perfect!  I had rented my new home on Craigslist, and stumbled blindly into a place where even Google maps could not quite locate me, Bing was unsure of my zipcode, and Qwest maps wasn’t altogether clear that my street existed at all.  To the USPS big digital database, my new location was strictly unknown, physical whereabouts optional.  Directions to relatives do not include “turn left at the 3rd streetlight”, because, of course, that would be three  streetlights beyond this place.

 

I have since learned that Rimrock works for deliveries, Lake Montezuma works for Post Office Box mail only, and Beaver Creek might be another option for my community moniker. Beaver Creek is inclusive of McGuireville as well as Rimrock and Lake Montezuma. Several thousand people call Beaver Creek home.

 

It’s not exactly rural, though it’s unincorporated.  Lake Montezuma itself has a wonderful restaurant, and there are several others, as well as two discount stores, several antique and thrift shops, a feed store, Montezuma Well, first class hiking trails, and three gas stations within five miles.  There are schools and a very good library in Rimrock, several churches, very active community organizations, some stop signs, and from time to time a bar or liquor store opens and closes.  No grocery store, but the gas stations and discount stores do what they can to fill that need.  There are rumors of a grocery/deli coming to Rimrock. There once was a big golf course with a restaurant and bar here, and there are always rumors that it will become active again.  Meanwhile, visitors keep looking for the big lake, which is really a nice big pond with dozens of ducks and geese.  Wet Beaver Creek is a fully functioning, beautiful, clear creek, and we have two parks, a big one on Beaver Creek and a small one in front of the Post Office.

The friendly ladies at the Post Office are a daily delight. They know every resident’s name, the names of their kids and dogs and cats, mothers and dads, aunts and uncles. They assist some of us in and out of the lobby and down and up the front steps, even when the occasional wanderer arrives in pajamas and is unsure how to get back home.  They somehow find my lost packages, and they call me when my puppy gets loose and runs around the park without me. They know exactly where we are in the world!  Thank you both so much for making life in a small place just terrific. You are truly good neighbors.

PS to USPS:  I wanted to be sure not to say anything which would cause USPS anxiety in this post office, so I looked up what I think is the appropriate rule in a manual here.  I believe that Handbook PO-209 for Retail Operations says it nicely on page 8:

The Post Office lobby is the principal business office of the Postal Service. For many customers, the lobby is their close-up view of Postal Service operations; therefore, its appearance, convenience, and efficiency directly affect the Postal Service’s public image. The perfect transaction includes clean lobbies that are stocked with forms and supplies and professionally attired, friendly retail professionals who are knowledgeable about the products and services offered by the Postal Service and know how to match these to our customers’ needs each and every time. The retail professional must follow the GIST (Greet, Inquire, Suggest, and Thank) model during every retail transaction conducted.

I guess I could say more, but you get the GIST.