The FedEx man entered the office brighter but no less wry than normal. He was almost giddy.
The Paytons live nearby, or at least they lived nearby when, as a second-grader, I solicited Walter’s autograph. My letter began something like, “Dear Mr. Payton, How are you? How is Mrs. Payton? I hope you’re good. You’re my favorite football player.” A friend’s father found an address. Though I doubt Payton Way exists I imagine the Post Office knew where to deliver it, like letters sent to the North Pole. Weeks later the mailman returned a glossy 8×10 signed in blue Sharpie.
There’s something exhilarating about carrying significant cargo — for some, a million-dollar athletic contract is like a peace treaty or a king’s crown. Or a king, for that matter. Something chauffeurs and cabbies experience daily.