Sometimes you can’t just say goodbye, you have to sing it.
Around 20 Oak Bluffs residents showed up at the town Post Office Friday morning in a surprise sendoff to sing goodbye to longtime postmaster Paul Leonard on his last day before retirement.
The sendoff began at 10 am, as friends and fans of Leonard ushered him out from behind the service window and clustered around him as he came out, all smiles.
Sam Low, an Oak Bluffs resident and close friend of Leonard, organized the sendoff. Low, who organizes annual Christmas carols for the Post Office, printed out slightly altered lyrics sung to the tune of “Auld Lang Syne,” adding the line: “You ran the Post Office so well and greeted us by name.” The group added “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow” as a coda.
Leonard was then presented with a plaque, signed by all who sang, congratulating him on his retirement and letting him know he will be missed.
“He’s just awesome. This man we love so much. Paul is the most kind spirit,” Low said.
Marie Allen, a resident of Oak Bluffs since the 1950s, told Leonard she would write him a love letter. “He has always gone out of his way to help everybody.”
Oak Bluffs selectman Gail Barmakian grew up with Leonard in town, and came to sing goodbye.
“Paul knows everybody’s box number just by your face. He’s been kind and good to all of us,” Judy Shemit, another Oak Bluffs resident, said.
Ever humble, Leonard thanked everyone and headed back to work, but not before being congratulated, shaking hands, and giving hugs. At the end, Leonard got emotional, saying he was a little bit overwhelmed. “This was never expected, just unbelievable. They’re good people.”