May 23, 2024
  • 3:18 pm Several area seniors receive AgTexas scholarships
  • 3:17 pm 8 area students receive Five Area Connect Scholarships
  • 3:14 pm Muleshoe City Council considers childcare facility tax exemption
  • 3:14 pm This is what the Muleshoe National Wildlife Refuge Expansion means for landowners
  • 3:13 pm Muleshoe Art Association holds last meeting of the year

Today I’m giving you another look into one of our many unique Senior Citizens. I have had the opportunity to interview and write about many of them. Today’s senior is one whom most of you will know. 

There is only one Melvin Griffin. Make no mistake, you will never fully understand him, but you can’t help but love him. Melvin is indeed all about fun. He holds within himself a treasury of wise and witty stories and he always shares a merry heart.  

James Melvin Griffin was born July 4th, 1928. Because he was born on the 4th of July, he often refers to himself as a “Yankee Doodle Dandy”. I can’t confirm the Yankee Doodle part—but yes, Melvin is a “dandy”. 

Melvin was born in Scurry County where his parents farmed until 1937. They then moved to Levelland and then later to Littlefield. Melvin attended school in Snyder, Levelland, and Littlefield. 

On March 28th of 1948, he married Wanda Hukill. They moved to Fort Smith, Arkansas for a few years where he worked at a lumberyard. He later took the Civil Service Test to become a postman. He came to work in February of 1962 at the post office here in Muleshoe. He stayed in that job for 26 years. 

The first 5 or 6 years he was postman, he walked his route every day. He said that he daily walked 13 miles. Makes one wonder if we all might live to be 93 if we walked that many miles every day. 

Melvin told me that some mathematician came to him one day after he had retired. This person had figured up all the days he walked delivering mail in his 26 years. It came to the same amount of mileage as walking across the United States twice! Melvin said that he loved the job of postman. “Life has been good to me and I loved meeting and visiting with all of the people each day”, he added. 

Melvin and Wanda had 3 children: Keith, Vicky, and Mike. Melvin lost his wife Wanda in 2008 and then lost his son, Keith, in 2019. He said that what is most important to him now is his children, 7 grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren, and his very special friend, Marcha Rasco. 

Melvin is a happy man. A day of visiting with Melvin opens new doors of understanding, brightens every moment, and makes for a day worth talking about. He is always full of humor and he knows that spreading happiness is a good thing. Being around him reminds me of the old saying, “The place to be happy is here. The time to be happy is now and the way to be happy is to make others happy.” 

At age 93, Melvin still remains comfortable with himself. He loves life but knows he can’t take life too seriously. He believes life is fun and beautiful but he has also experienced that life is also truth. 

For a deep-down discussion of Melvin’s greatest thrills—you have to understand his love for the great outdoors. Fishing is the greatest treasure he seeks. Melvin says, “Sure, there’s no place like home but some days you’ve just got to get up and go fishing.” Melvin’s fishing trips give him the best of both worlds. He can enjoy his family at home all he wants and then he can travel to his home away from home—which is his favorite fishing hole.  

Melvin has found fishing as his true “happy place”. He does admit, however, that as he ages, his fishing trips are farther apart. “It’s been 2 years since my last fishing trip,” he admitted. “But I am thankful Marcha and I got to go fishing at Chama, New Mexico 2 years ago,” he added. 

Melvin has been active his whole life. And only the active really relish life. One thing which Melvin did was to leave school early his Senior year to join the Navy. It was at a time when young men were needed in the military. He gave up graduating from high school to serve his country. 

The greatest surprise of his life was in 2019 when he received a call that the military wished to bestow on him his graduation diploma from Littlefield High School that he never received. Melvin told me he was treated like a king at the event. He told me, “The hairs on the back of my neck stood up and tears came to my eyes when I was presented my high school diploma at 90 years young!” 

Some other things you might not know about Melvin is he was Muleshoe’s Santa Claus for a while. In addition to delivering mail as Santa—he also delivered packages to the nursing home residents here for 17 years. 

When I asked Melvin what he liked about our center, he answered, “To me it was a lifesaver. My wife died in 2008. After that I just sat home every day feeling sorry for myself. Then one day, my friend Marcha Rasco came and took me to the center. I enjoyed the fun, fellowship, and the food. I quickly became a regular. I will forever be grateful that I came because now it’s a major part of my social life.”  

I then asked the inevitable question to Melvin: “Do you ever think you would live this long?” He answered, “I came from a long line of individuals who live long lives. Two of my aunts lived to be over 100—the oldest living to be 104. Three of my uncles lived to be in their late 90’s. So, I don’t know about myself, but I know that I’m gonna live fully until I die.” 

No doubt, Melvin will do just that! And wouldn’t it be great if we all took that same attitude? Don’t just live but live life fully—at least until we die! 

Carolyn Johnson, Bailey County Senior Citizen Center

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