By Leslie Criss
Leslie Criss 6/15/10
HED: Ticket please
By DANZA JOHNSON
TUPELO – Cleavon Smith has been working longer than some people have been alive.
While a lot of senior citizens are enjoying their twilight years traveling, gardening and other retirement actives, the 69-year-old Smith spends his days working and he enjoys every minute of it. Smith works 20 hours a week patrolling downtown Tupelo as a part-time ticket police for the Tupelo Police Department.
Despite over 40 years of work before retiring from the U.S. Postal Service, Smith wakes up at least three days a week to go to work.
“I’ve never been comfortable with the idea of retirement,” said Smith, who worked as Postmaster in Baldwyn before he retired 10 years ago. “I can’t imagine having to wake up every day with nothing to do. So this job is perfect. I get to work and am outside meeting people. This may be the best job I’ve ever had.”
Smith, who has been married for 42 years to his wife Mary, has been working for the police department three years now. Smith’s job is to write citations to people who park downtown and exceed the two-hour parking limit. Even though no one likes to get a ticket, Smith said everyone treats him well while he’s working.
“I haven’t had any problems out of people in three years,” he said. “I meet so many good people on this job. I never wake up and say I don’t want to go to work. I always want to come to work.”
Though he has a small cart to ride while patrolling downtown, Smith said he’d rather walk.
“The heat doesn’t bother me one bit,” he said. “I love walking no matter what the weather is outside. It keeps me feeling good and healthy. I have never had any illnesses. I don’t take any medication, just food and water. Walking a lot is a big reason for that.”
Smith said he plans on working at least another year and after that, he’ll try his hand at retirement again.
“We’ll see how retiring goes when I leave this job,” he said with a smile. “I plan on spending my days playing golf, but we’ll just have to see if I can stay away from work.”