Mail is in Gay Moxley's blood-or at least, her bloodline. She graduated from Southern Illinois University with a degree in education, but discovered teaching didn't pay the bills and, at 21, followed her father, a career rural route carrier, into the postal service.
In February, Moxley retired after 30 years of battling rain, sleet and dark of night. She spent the last 14 years in Sarasota, delivering mail from State Street to U.S. 41, the only walking route left in the city. "I loved that neighborhood," she says, from the business people and residents-some with dogs that greeted her with sloppy kisses-to a parade of tourists seeking directions and dining tips.
And the palm trees and sunshine were a nice change from her route in Illinois, she says, where she drove spikes into her shoes to keep from slipping on the ice and slathered Vaseline on her face to ward off fierce wind chills.
Today Moxley walks on a treadmill and enjoys her grandchildren and husband of 12 years, Bob. Even now, she finds, "The day goes really fast."