The Mailman

2 min
at 11:43 PM

Six days a week, the mailman delivers. Mac Clayton knows at least two things about his postman, and only one is about a favorite treat.

André is our mailman. I don’t like the mail, but I like André, even though he mostly brings me bills, junk and undelivered holiday cards that look like they’ve been on a long, messy journey and are happy to return home.

André is sympathetic. He says the post office is a mess. He seems cheerfully abashed to be working at a place where his personal standards aren’t matched by those of his employer.

I’ve waved and nodded to many mail carriers over the years, from many homes in many states, but André is the first one I’ve known by name. He’s also the first one I know for sure loves brownies.

When our sons went off to college, Meg began sending them brownies now and then. “Brownie Love,” she called it. A small, flat-rate mailing box is just the right size. Sometimes they were still warm when she put them in the mailbox.

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It wasn’t too long before I’d see André on his rounds and he’d say those brownies smelled so good he couldn’t guarantee they’d make it to the boys. After that, with the boxes she mailed Meg often left a little plastic bag with a brownie or two, tied with a ribbon. “Protection brownies,” you might call them.

Then, last Fall, I didn’t see André for a month or two. I thought maybe he’d retired. I mentioned missing him to our new mailman, and he said André was on a medical leave. When André came back, he said he’d been away “kicking cancer’s butt.”

Since then he has gotten thinner, and he misses a week now and then, but he still keeps coming; and Meg keeps making brownies. Our boys have been out of college for a while now, but as long as André comes to our mailbox, a living symbol of the strength and optimism in tough times that is the best of us, they’ll keep getting brownies in the mail.

With a Perspective, I’m Mac Clayton.

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Mac Clayton is a writer and attorney living on the Peninsula.

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