A walk through the door of the Florissant Post Office offers a touch of geographic mystique.
A gallery of postage stamps from nearly every country in the world, framed with an artistic touch, is a love letter to the residents from the clerk, Jill Smith.
Over the years, Smith has collected stamps and postcards from the area’s global adventurers. In addition to a flurry of missives from afar, the post office is a refuge for estate collections.
“The whole community is involved in this office; I try to bring everybody in and make it their office,” she said.
Smith bid farewell to the post office last week. After all, she spent the past 35 years in a career that began in the Lake George Post Office, in a little space in the General Store. The store sold flies and other fish bait.
Along the way, she became a dual expert in mail issues and fish secrets, often divulging the best type of fly and the best bite location. “Most people who came in the door didn’t know they were at the post office,” she said.
Just thinking back to those days, Smith gets tickled, laughs heartily.
But as the post office outgrew the spot on the road, Smith and then-Postmaster Marsha Wages helped design a new location on main street. Bigger, better, but the same little gathering place.
“People still called if they needed information about anything in the community,” she said. “In a small town, sometimes that’s all you have.”
In addition to revealing secret fish locations, Smith volunteered to educate Lake George students about the post office, with her budding stamp collection as props.
In a Smith-inspired geography lesson, the students would select a stamp and then find the appropriate country on a map in the classroom.
After 11 years in Lake George, Smith successfully applied to be a postal clerk in Florissant where she expanded her stamp collection.
Twenty-four years later, she announced her retirement date of May 19.
Until then, she has three days to frame a collage of postcards — cathedrals and other landmarks from countries all over the world to hang in her Wall of Fame.
“This post office is known worldwide,” she said.
In Florissant, residents come to the post office for more than just mail. Some come for the zucchini popping up in Smith’s community garden — or to smell the flowers in springtime.
In her spare time, she helps her husband, Webb Smith, work on the homestead settled by John Badger near Wilkerson Pass and acquired by the Smith family years ago.
“I’ve had a unique life,” she said.
After the barbecue farewell last week, Smith plans to continue her go-go lifestyle.
Five years ago, she and her daughter, Rebecca Smith, bought the Rooster’s Crow restaurant in Buena Vista. “She wants me to come over and work a couple days a week,” she said. “And I need to find some of my own time again.”
Comments are open to Gazette subscribers only