Monday, September 23, 2019
Peaches and used wood planks.
So we all occasionally give in to the hype. For me it was this summer. Imagine it. It is Sunday in mid July in the south, I'm on my porch with a cold drink and a fan. A few steps away I had access to a big screen tv, netflix, and a couch to nap on.
My wife says, "Wouldn't it be great to have some fresh peaches?"
Me: "I hate peaches."
My wife: "There is nothing like a really fresh peach. You know the peach truck is coming today?"
Me: "Peach truck?"
My wife: "Oh, they make everyone stand on hot asphalt for hours, pull up in an eighteen wheeler with large boxes of peaches, you wait in line, pay exorbitant prices, and leave with 150 peaches... 148 more than we will ever eat...."
Me: "That sounds awesome! I'm in!"
My Wife: "Ehhh... I'm taking a nap."
So there I went to the Georgia Peach Truck.
I was, I think, somewhere around 134th in line.
While waiting for the truck to arrive there was a flurry of activity. One of the dogs on Paw Patrol was running around hugging children. It was a good reminder that as miserable as we were standing in the large parking lot, it could be worse. We could be in the parking lot in a large, furry dog costume being chased by toddlers.
Then there were a bunch of vendors. It probably should've been a warning to me as I looked over their wares. You go to Disney World and they sell Mickey Mouse hats, you go to the beach and they sell sunscreen and surf boards, you go snow skiing in Colorado and they sell ski bibs, goggles, and marijuana. At the Hixson, TN Peach Truck delivery... there were vendors selling... I'm not making this up.... Old Wood.
"Come and get it! Old Wood! Below Market Prices! Only $30 per stick!"
Another vendor had broken windows and broken door frames. Another had "authentically weathered" street signs. "These signs were outside! That's why you can barely read what they say!"
One guy was just standing by the nearby dumpster and charging people to go dumpster diving.
I should've seen teh connection between the peach truck and used wood sellers... dumb customers... but I wa too into the hype at this point.
That is till the truck pulled up and began giving us the options. A guy who looked like he belonged on the cover of a harlequin romance novel stood on the open rear door of the eighteen wheeler.
"Attention all! These peaches are fresh! " He holds one up, "This peach's name is Fred. he was on a tree about three hours ago!"
We all oooed and awed. Well, I think most of oooed over the peach but some ladies looked like they were about to stick $1 bills in the peach truck driver's levis.
So then he descends and other similar cut young men start handing out boxes.
Mr. Harlequin starts walking down the line.
"We have two deals! A box for $80 or 2 boxes for $160! Cash only! No Checks, No Cards!" He then flexed his biceps.
"How many are in a box," I asked the lady in front of me. She looked like a regular.
She stopped waving $1 bills at Mr. Harlequin: "Isn't he handsome!" she said...
"A regular Channing Tatum" I offered.
"How many peaches are in a box?"
"Oh, .. there are like 40 in a box."
"I'm not a math genius, but that's like $2 a box?" I inquired.
Lady: "I know! What a deal!"
I then realized she was holding a plank of wood with a $30 price tag on it.
The lady behind me was more reasonable. She was prepared to buy two but really only wanted one and a half. So I offered to go in with her. She asked how many I wanted and I said two.
Her: "Two boxes?"
Me: "No. Two Peaches."
Her: "You can't do that."
I knew this but I was too deep now. We negotiated I would buy 1/2 of a box for $40. At the truck, I made the mistake of asking for an extra box. I thought I had a moment to do this because the lady who had been in front of me was taking her picture with the shirtless 20-something worker. But apparently questions were not allowable... only selfies...."Boxes cost money," the shirtless man said. Make a decision."
So I gave the woman my $20 and helped her carry the two boxes to her car. Well... I carried one box and another young farmhand carried the other. I took the lid and placed fifteen or so peaches in it, thanked the lady, and headed to my truck.
On my way I was accosted by another member of the peach truck with the final sell.
Farm hand: "You have a lot of peaches there! Need a cookbook? 100 peach recipes? Otherwise you'll have to throw them away."
Me: "No thank you. I don't like peaches."
Farm hand taking a selfie with a lady who just ordered eight boxes: "OK Sir. Oh, by the way, you should know that these peaches are fresh. You should put them on your counter for like 4 to 5 days before eating them."
That was the last we spoke as I got into my car and watched him be attacked by a lady with eight boxes, two used windows, a paw patrol picture, and something she bought from the dumpster. I hope he made it out alive. But at the peach truck, its every man for himself.
I took them home and dutifully laid them out on my counter. Two days later I and my bride got on a plane to go on vacation. She tried one before we left and announced that it was not ripe. I chose not to try one because (1) I had been warned to wait the full 5 days and (2) I hate peaches. And I have to admit, as one who doesn't like peaches, not eating that one may have been the best decision I could've made.
If you want to have the experience:
In 1991 Dr. Lanza walked up beside me as I headed to lunch. He asked why I hadn't signed up for his creative writing class. I did, and his class changed my life. I then and there decided someday I wanted to write. Fast forward 25 years... After several careers I stepped into teaching so I could have time to write. Thus, here we are! Thanks Dr. Lanza!