Buster Smith has worked at the Kimberlin Heights Post Office for 24 years. He will retire in October at age of 88 when the branch closes.

Buster Smith has worked at the Kimberlin Heights Post Office for 24 years. He will retire in October at age of 88 when the branch closes.

By Jay Miller, [email protected]

Buster Smith fondly recalled a mistake he made in his first few days at the Kimberlin Heights Post Office, 24 years ago, while standing in his office, leaning on a wooden shelf.

The room was adorned with pictures of customers, an old typewriter, three guitars, a small couch, and a desk littered with seemingly outdated postal tools. A 40 year old Mountain Dew box doubles as the drop box for outgoing letters.

“I put one dollar too much in the envelope,” Smith said, as if still bothered by the situation. “I believe one dollar bill stuck to another because I usually count them to or three times to be sure.”

He said a woman at the main office on Weisgarber Rd. caught the mistake and called him when she noticed.

“She said Buster you made a mistake on your accountability, you put a dollar extra in the envelope,” Smith said. “So I told her to put it in her pocket and keep it.”

Smith’s 24 year career at the Kimberlin Heights Post Office will come to an end in October with the closing of the Kimberlin Heights branch.

His wife Lois Smith ran the post office until she died in 1988. In her absence, Buster was asked if wanted to take over operational responsibilities.

“When they asked me I said ‘no sir, not me’ I didn’t know nothing about it,” Smith said. “They told me that help was as close as the phone and that I could call them if I needed help so I said, ‘okay.’”

Since that day Smith has dutifully reported to the post office to serve the residents of Kimberlin Heights. He says that things are slower these days because everyone is doing their business online and there was evidence of that around the office.

Smith moved to Knoxville in 1945 from Mississippi to wash dishes in his cousin’s restaurant on Market St. after graduating high school.

When asked how much things have changed since that time Smith responded, “Shoooo-weeee, just about everything has changed.”

To pass the time between customers Smith sits on his couch and plays one of his many guitars. He enjoys blue grass music and says that once and a while a local boy will come in to play music with him.

“When I pick up the guitar somebody comes in,” Smith said with a kind smile.

Smith lives directly behind the post office and owns the building in which the post office currently resides. When asked what his plans were for after October he responded with a laugh and said, “Mow the yard.”

Buster has kept a container of bubble gum on the counter for kids who come into the office. It appears as though it has been there for years. He says he plans to keep everything as it currently is in the post office after it closes.

“I guess everything has turned out alright,” Smith said looking around the office with a smile.

Smith celebrated his 88th birthday July 21.

One Comment

  1. jackie wright says:

    He is the most pleasant man. It is always a joy to go into that post office and will be an end of a era. Mr. Smith will be missed by many, but I wish him the best retirement. Jackie Wright

Leave a Reply