MANGUM, Okla. — Before golden rays paint over the dry and dusty plains in rural Oklahoma, one man is already hard at work. Jim Ed Bull — known to the locals as Jim Ed — rolls out of bed, powers through 50 sit-ups, and kisses his wife Susan before hopping into his trusty Ford Ranger.
Bull has racked up a lot of miles on his little red truck, more than 295,000 of them. As the postman for America’s longest mail route, he delivers mail to the tiny towns of Duke and El Dorado, as well as the homes and farms along winding country roads in between. The 72-year-old travels 187 miles a day, making 198 stops, and serving 247 families.
For nine hours each day he sits in the middle seat, steering with his left arm and slamming mailboxes shut with his right. He’s one box closer to home with each off-load of bills, birthday cards, and magazines.