The Golden Rule at the Moncure post office
By Judy Hogan
Susan Cotten lifts my spirits every time there's a moment to chat in our busy Moncure post office. Moncure, a village in largely rural southeast Chatham County, is served by Central Electric Membership Corporation. We're very diverse here: old-timers, newcomers, African-Americans, Hispanics, rich, poor, old, young, factory workers, artists, farmers.
Susan greets us all as if we were the most important people in her world. She says it's like having us come into her living room. She teases those she knows well and likes to get us laughing — sometimes at ourselves. She's comfortable to be around, and she'll ask, "What will you be doing today?"
We customers end up talking to each other, or with Susan, or outside on the porch of the post office. Susan told me that she doesn't judge people by skin color, clothes or lifestyle. She pays attention to how they act. She treats us well because it's how she wants to be treated. If an elderly person needs help filling out a money order, she does it gladly. She doesn't want anyone to feel that it's an imposition to ask for help. "I'll be old one day. I'm already as 'old as dirt,' my son says, and 'older than sand.'"
When I have a new book published, she celebrates with me. One woman comes in to show what she got for her granddaughter's birthday. The toddlers who come in with their mothers know about the dish of lollipops Susan keeps for them. Whether you're buying one stamp or mailing a whole raft of boxes, Susan is glad to see you. She's a font of information about things local, which houses are for rent, which businesses are going to fold, and which new businesses are coming to the area.
Susan moved to Moncure when she was 4 and met her husband, David, in the eighth grade at Moncure School, and except for three years, they have lived here ever since. She says she doesn't give advice. "I can barely live my own life." Her philosophy is: "Do what you think is right, or it will come back and bite you in the butt. Treat people well, as individuals."
I find Susan rare in her openness to other people, her sense of humor and fair play, her living out, quite simply, the Golden Rule we all sometimes have trouble doing.