Noting it many times before, I love going to the Farmers’ Market, talking to folks, studying vegetables and getting my boiled peanuts. On this particular Saturday morning, our weather was not so good – it was starting to rain and I needed to pick up the things that I could not live without on this particular day.
To be specific, I wanted a patty pan squash, some green tomatoes and a couple of bags of boiled peanuts. As the rain started to drizzle down, I found three nice green tomatoes and one perfectly sized patty pan squash. Patty pan squash look a little like an inflated flower and they grill up real nice.
All I needed to pick up was my boiled peanuts. I wanted two bags, because it seems I never have enough once I get home with them. Breakfast was bearing on my mind. I was going to walk over to the coffee house in town and have a concoction of stone ground grits with country ham and cheddar jack cheese mixed in them. They top this mixture with poached eggs.
I’m not a very good egg poacher, but I do enjoy them – so I was looking forward to breakfast. These folks’ grits are good too; good grits are hard to find.
As I started toward my peanut farmer’s canopy to pick up my most desired purchase of the day, I noticed a fellow standing there talking (to my boiled peanut provider). It was raining; this fellow was not buying anything. The peanut farmer is there to sell and to keep his tractors running and pay the light bill.
I enjoy talking to folks as much as anyone, but I am not going to block a sale by standing there chewing the cud. Trying to be nice, I gave this fellow a minute; I was hoping he would move on.
He did not.
I was getting wet and I wanted my boiled peanuts and I wanted my poached eggs over real grits speckled with ham and cheese. So I made my move.
The farmer knows me – he knows that I want to buy his boiled peanuts. He was being nice, pretending to listen to this cud chewing fellow.
Where I live, it is easy to identify some folks. I know it is not nice to profile people, but sometimes it is necessary. There are people from here, there are people who moved here and there are many folks who move south here to retire (thinking they are in the real South).
Most of these folks who retire to my area are from New York or New Jersey. If I had to bet on it and take your money, this fellow talking to my boiled peanut farmer was from New Jersey. I could tell – he didn’t even have to open his mouth.
Again, I try to be nice to everyone and I honestly like meeting different types of folks. This fellow hadn’t done anything to me – yet…
Not willing to wait and getting tired of being spit on by the rain, I went on up to my peanut farming fellow and said, “I need two bags of boiled peanuts.” My peanut farmer seemed relieved to be rescued from the yankee fellow blocking the sale of fine Virginia peanuts.
I did it. I upset the cud chewing New Jersey retiree. I said to myself, “Oh mercy, this fellow is about to lay into me.”
He turned to me and said, “This is the South, we take things slow here.”
I think I took my glasses off before I spoke. I had all of these things that I wanted to say that were not nice at all. I was trying to keep in mind that it was me who interrupted this fellow’s useless conversation getting me more wet and keeping me from my peanuts (and grits).
I was going to try to come up with a nice reply. However, when a yankee tells me how it is in the South, it bothers me. It is not that I mind sharing my heritage with folks; it’s just that I don’t like folks claiming something that is not theirs.
It is like a Methodist going in and telling folks in a Baptist church the proper depth of their baptism pool, or worse telling them to install a shower.
I looked at him and formed my words. I smiled and I spoke in my native language, “Trust me – I know about the South and I know what WE do. You seemed to be just chewing the cud.”
He walked off.
My peanut farmer’s wife was sitting on a cooler behind him. After the fellow walked off, she said, “And we are not afraid to speak our mind.”
I smiled and headed off to get my grits.
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