Something Strange and Wonderful: "Did you get pears?"

Bravo, Mr Vanderleun! That fine moment was not wasted on this household either.

Posted by Hannon at August 21, 2010 7:47 PM

A world within a question.....and the response. So true.

54 years of marriage this August 7th. We have our code, our signals. We have each other when all else falls away. Has it been a dance through elysian fields? No! It's more like the bond forged by comrades in arms. We have stood by each other's sides come what may. She's had my back and I hers through the good and the bad, the thick and the thin. There is deep satisfaction in journeying together this far.

The end draws near but we hold our candles higher as we continue our journey of life and love.

Posted by Jimmy J. at August 21, 2010 8:43 PM

Certainly wonderful, but less strange as the years come and go, Gerard. Pity you never got to live in such a continuum; but then, perhaps your writing would have suffered if you had, so your loss (if indeed loss it was) is our gain. Art demands its sacrifices; little arrives that is of real value without the pain of experience. And no doubt the intensity of shorter, varied liaisons was equally satisfying in many ways.

After 52 years of official wedded bliss and three prior years of constancy one sometimes wonders how disparate 'relationships' would have added to the wonder of existence, but, vicariously - through the misfortunes of our children I take comfort from our continuence. I'm not sure what the other half would think, if so confronted and I'm too much of a coward to ask. But the the answer is probably encapsulated in "We'll talk about it inside", as you say.

Posted by Frank P at August 22, 2010 2:38 AM

Liked the clip. What a sweet old man. Imagining her trudging around the market getting stuff, stopping talking to a friend, while he is sitting upstairs thinking about the pear he is going to eat. If I were her, I'd probably have got distracted by gossiping with the grocer or got him Sachertorte instead...Like my parents, who were married 52 years (engaged 2 days after meeting each other), and died 2 months apart. Only my mom was homebound, and my dad the one bringing home pears...

The Matthew Arnold is a real treat. That's more what love seems like to me. Even in long marriages. But I'm just down (friend getting divorced after more than a quarter century and the mutual suffering even when "civilized").

Posted by retriever at August 22, 2010 6:13 AM

Bear Claw: You've come far pilgrim.

Jeremiah Johnson: Feels like far.

Bear Claw: Were it worth the trouble?

Jeremiah Johnson: What trouble?

Posted by vanderleun at August 22, 2010 7:22 AM

What trouble indeed?

And there's hope for us whose lifetimes together got truncated by outside forces: most likely we know the shortcuts to "did you get pears" and it won't take quite so long if we get a second chance.

Posted by raincityjazz at August 22, 2010 9:53 AM

Yet still, from time to time, vague and forlorn,
From the soul's subterranean depth upborne
As from an infinitely distant land,
Come airs, and floating echoes, and convey
A melancholy into all our day.
Only--but this is rare--
When a belov'd hand is laid in ours,
When, jaded with the rush and glare
Of the interminable hours,
Our eyes can in another's eyes read clear,
When our world-deafen'd ear
Is by the tones of a loved voice caress'd--
A bolt is shot back somewhere in our breast,
And a lost pulse of feeling stirs again.
The eye sinks inward, and the heart lies plain,
And what we mean, we say, and what we would, we know.
A man becomes aware of his life's flow,
And hears its winding murmur; and he sees
The meadows where it glides, the sun, the breeze.

And there arrives a lull in the hot race
Wherein he doth for ever chase
That flying and elusive shadow, rest.
An air of coolness plays upon his face,
And an unwonted calm pervades his breast.
And then he thinks he knows
The hills where his life rose,
And the sea where it goes.

Posted by reliapundit at August 22, 2010 12:46 PM

Or- maybe this is just one of those moments when Don is again seeing signs that his life and work are meaningless. The old man says "pears",not "Sugarberry pears" or "A&P pears". He doesn't seem to care what kind of pears, he just wants them and the brand is irrelevant. And Don, ever the observer of human behavior, is thinking, why do I bother coming up with these elaborate ad campaigns? Nobody gives a blue fart in the end who made and sold the pears. We'll have to wait for the DVD version; I'm sure they'll comment on that scene.

Posted by Dr. Abulafia at August 22, 2010 12:49 PM

"He doesn't seem to care what kind of pears, he just wants them and the brand is irrelevant."

No...after that long he doesn't need to specify the brand. He knows that she knows.

Posted by Pete Madsen at August 22, 2010 4:57 PM

Amazing. That scene stuck in my head last week. It was too good, too subtle to just throw away, especially her admonishing "we'll discuss it inside". I thought Draper was looking at his life as something missing, a longing for arguing about pears, for Chrissake. Glad to see that more latched on to this scene, as well.

Posted by mike at August 22, 2010 5:31 PM

And there was me thinking it was Pears soap he was talking about; a gentle hint that her personal hygiene was being neglected; that she had twigged his intention and was about to draw attention to his own. Then I remembered ... at that age you can't smell shit, anyway.

Posted by Frank P at August 23, 2010 3:14 AM

Public conversations

Circa 1962:

Elderly husband: Did you get pears?

Elderly wife: We'll discuss it inside.


Circa 2010

Elderly husband: Did you get pears?

Elderly wife: No, you know what they do to your diverticulitis, and I don't want to put up with that smell.

Being private is also being polite.

Posted by ThomasD at August 23, 2010 7:21 AM

Good point, ThomasD.

Posted by rickl at August 23, 2010 4:43 PM

I'm glad this profound moment has been captured here. He seems a sweet old man, I hope he doesn't get too much stick from his wife.

Posted by Mike at November 24, 2010 6:02 AM

You revealed the sublime in a very banal moment that only artists and poets could do. The writers set it there for us, the audience, to ponder, and you transmuted it for us.

A credit to the writers, and to you. Especially to you.

That was a real gem, Gerard.

Many thanks.

Posted by Cond0011 at January 27, 2013 8:32 AM

How timely. I am sitting here surfing the net and watching a recorded episode of Mad Men in the background. #34.

The principals of Sterling Cooper are discussing Conrad Hilton and the potential of the Hilton Hotel account.

Bert Cooper says, "I met him once. He's a bit of an eccentric, isn't he?"

Some very fine moments, indeed, in that show.

The expressions on the faces of the other partners are priceless.

Posted by altered states at January 27, 2013 12:15 PM

How timely. I am sitting here surfing the net and watching a recorded episode of Mad Men in the background. #34.

The principals of Sterling Cooper are discussing Conrad Hilton and the potential of the Hilton Hotel account.

Bert Cooper says, "I met him once. He's a bit of an eccentric, isn't he?"

Some very fine moments, indeed, in that show.

The expressions on the faces of the other partners are priceless.

Posted by altered states at January 27, 2013 12:17 PM

I went to Costco yesterday to buy a case of diet green tea. I forgot it until I was in the checkout line. I did not have the stamina to sail back through the throng to the back of the store to complete my quest. The obligatory third world family were behind me, perhaps reviewing their finances as the asian bitch threw items around the cart and railed at her old man in their savage tongue. It was unseemly, and I wanted to tell her that we don't do such things publicly in this culture. Of course some do, but not those who are properly behaved.

Posted by Casca at January 28, 2013 6:40 AM

As the song state, "You can't always get what you want."

Trust, faith, that it is for the best.

Posted by Grace at January 28, 2013 8:12 PM
AMERICAN DIGEST :HOME

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