As I am reading what eventually became this post about Aubrey Graham’s Drake impersonation, I feel some kind of way about it, but I’m not sure what that way is. I’m not a big Drake fan, so I don’t have the necessary context to read and give feedback like I want. Like the researcher I am, I reprogram my Spotify to do all Drake everything and prepare to cleanse my ear soul afterwards.
In Mississippi, my grandparents had an apple and a pear tree in the backyard. At five years old, all apples were red until I saw this incredible tree with lush green ones growing right in front of me in the backyard, which was not fenced off. So from spring through summer, we had to run people off from walking through ours (and the neighbors) backyards to save the trees. We had to be quick because the whole thing could happen in two minutes.
I never gave a thought about the pear tree. I hate pears. I have never liked pears. My grandparents tried to feed me pears (NO). They would eat them in front of me and would pass me a slice that would end up back on their plate. I don’t like the taste of pears. I don’t care for the texture. And I don’t even want it mixed with other fruit to convince me that I could eat them. No fruit combinations. No fruit cocktail. Just saying no to pears.
My passive animosity to pears was at fever pitch when I was watching This is Us (Episode 17, “What Now?”). Seeing a crate of pears at Randall’s front door, I thought, “who the hell sends a crate of pears and a generic sympathy card signed: From the Team?”. The combination alone was enough to trigger a visceral reaction. I thought there was something more to it when Beth reacted to finding out Randall’s office sent the crate. Later, it was revealed in the that on top of giving the company his all (twice as much labor and not even a 1/3 of the recognition), Randall is allergic to pears and his boss apparently forgot about how he almost died during his interview lunch. I may hate pears, but never would I use them to be so disrespectful. No one from the office came to the service. No one sent a personal card. No one thought the pears were a bad idea. That two minutes of pears makes me want to go to the nearest Kroger and protest selling pears by the box next to the guys with the signs demanding a particular person’s tax returns.
But the scene for me was never about the pears. It was about the mailman. Seeing the box at the door, he brought it into the house and once inside, asked about William since he had not seen him around lately. Two minutes is about how long a mail carrier is in the vicinity of your house, including time at the mailbox, shorter if they are driving and the mailbox is at the end of the driveway. I’m not even sure if the mailman had a name, but I know his reaction to learning that William passed away was one of the most genuine reactions I had seen on the show so far (I picked up watching the episode just before Thanksgiving and watched through to the finale. I’ll the other episodes soon). Maybe it’s a southern thing like me. Or Midwestern. I hope it’s all of us and all of this. Still, all of this happened within the same two minutes with the pears.
I didn’t know the name of our mailman when I was growing up in Mississippi until my great-grandmother retired from working in my elementary school cafeteria. She would sit outside and just watch people drive by her house: farm workers, school buses, and the mailman, Danny. Turns out his mom was one of my first-grade teachers. Everyday my grandmother was outside when Danny dropped of the mail in the box at the end of the driveway to the sound of “Hey Ms. Louise,” and “Hey Danny” echoing back. Sometimes a question about how each were doing would follow before Danny would drive off to the next house. Two minutes a day, 6 days a week. The longest I ever saw him stop were the two times I saw him talk to my grandfather. First when my great-grandmother had to go to the hospital and a few weeks later when she passed away. Danny stopped by the house the day of the funeral, a Sunday, to talk to my grandfather and bring food for the family after the service. I think my grandfather is a little older than him, maybe about five years or so. I think they talked for a about 20 minutes or so, but compared to the 2 minutes, seemed like hours. He left a card in the mailbox on Monday. Two minutes a day, six days a week for almost 4 years. I do not know how to measure the true impact of the time in this life thing we do, except to say that Danny did not and has never brought us a crate of damn pears.