Have you ever heard of or read about “a minute” being used as an informal understatement to suggest a long period of time?
“Hey Ray! It’s good to see you. It’s been a minute.”
“I’ll call you when it’s done. It’s going to take a minute.”
This has always struck me as being a distinct Southernism, and perhaps an Alabama-ism. Hell, it might even be more specific than that, since I grew up hearing it in Montgomery, then moved away to various points in and out of Alabama, and never heard it. A few years ago, I moved back to Birmingham, and suddenly I’m hearing it in common usage again.
Other possible factors: is it a Southern black thing? I’m white, but grew up in a black neighborhood, and never went to a school that was less than 50% black. I live in a very racially mixed community now, and now that I think about it, I usually hear it from my black neighbors (but hell, not always.)