Mr. Nestlehut

Every Friday he arrived, come late spring.
Vintage pick-up rigged
With 2 x 4’s and a canopy,
The bed a warren of bins.
He parked at the top of
Our down-sloping driveway.
I ran to greet him.
My mother came slower.

I loved the okra best,
Fuzzy, frog-green spikes,
Not at all appetizing.
Who would want to eat that?
Looks can be deceiving.

His were not.
Tall, slim, silver hair smooth,
Pressed khakis, Goldwater glasses,
His soft speech revealed a Southern gentleman.

“How do, ladies?” he inquired.
Even young, I never liked the word
But accepted it from him, felt a little taller.
They viz’ted.  I wandered, exploring
Each deep, mysterious bin.  New red potatoes
No bigger than ping-pong balls.
“Those snap beans look good, Mom.”
And okra.

Still chatting, he pulled the scale
from its spot beneath the bins,
Hung it from its proper hook,
Weighed our choices, took money,
Made change and tucked it snugly
Back to wait in practiced rhythm of
Warm afternoons.

We always waved when he backed out,
Balancing our brown-bagged loot
Between us, already excited
For next Friday’s visit.

Years later, reminiscing across wires and miles,
My mother told me she saw the name again.
She ran a polling place for elections.
A young man came to vote
And stayed to hear her memories of
Afternoon vegetables and
The man who brought them.
He smiled and nodded.
“That was my father.”

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3 thoughts on “Mr. Nestlehut

  1. Brilliant – so evocative. You created a current moment of a time past. It caused me to think of my mother and similar times.

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