a writing by Nancy Ellen Crossland

Every summer the dilapidated truck lumbered down the street
late in the afternoon. We never knew exactly what day he would appear.

He'd cry: "Peddler..Peddler..fresh fruits and vegetables!"
Folks would run out with kids in tow to inspect the peddler's wares. Even though the A & P market was nearby, it couldn't compare with the peddler's fresh array. He'd always give free samples of the juiciest cherries, which we'd eagerly pick; succulent peaches, fresh and fragrant, and purple plums, rich, dark and flavorful. Those tomatoes. Wow! Giant beefsteaks that were glossy red-orange. Perfect in shape and flavor. Of course vegetables too. The kids passed those by. But health conscious mothers scanned and scooped up leafy green lettuces, spinach, radishes, onions and green beans. Of course everyone's favorite- corn on the cob always went the fastest.

The peddler was a small muscular fellow with skin tanned dark as the rich soil he worked in daily. We never knew his real name. He was just fondly known as "The Peddler", as he was the only one in the neighborhood servicing about a six block radius. He is a fond memory of simpler times before chemical sprays, mass production, and labels placed on produce. "Organic"? What's that?

A memory of a little man bronzed by the sun who reaped the rewards of dedication to Mother Earth with an abundant harvest to be enjoyed by a neighborhood of the working class and fondly remembered by me.

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