Friday, March 30, 2012

Friends With Benefits

I needed a new vegetable brush, just a simple little brush to scrub potatoes.  It took three stores before I found a reasonable facsimile of what I wanted.  What I really wanted was a brush like the Fuller Brush Man used to give away as a thank you for letting him show his wares.  When I was a kid, there were all sorts of door-to-door salesmen.  No one thought a thing then about opening the door to strangers and inviting them in.  During and after The Depression years many men found work this way.  It couldn't have been easy, walking long miles lugging heavy sample cases, facing rejection with every push of the doorbell.  We lived at the outskirts of a rural area, a many-hundred-acre truck (vegetable) farm just across the road and, like most women then, my mother did not work outside the home and was semi-isolated.  Mother might have had no interest in buying a set of Encyclopedia Britannica books, but she always listened to the enthusiastic spiel, offering a chance to sit down and a glass of water or a cup of coffee.  Like traveling tinkers of old, these men brought news, jokes, and gossip to housewives, and once in awhile they even made a sale.

I and my wares remain stationary, and my customers come to me.  Yesterday was a bonanza day, with an egg customer in the early morning (before goats) and milk customers later on.  More than the sales, I enjoy catching up on what's going on in their lives, discussions on weather, growing conditions, domestic animals and wildlife, etc., etc., etc.  When Bessie Anne was a puppy, if she behaved well and didn't bark or jump, she got a treat.  Now she nearly throws her back out, wiggling at the door, eager to greet a guest politely and accompany them to the kitchen where we do business.  The problem is that she still expects a treat and might get a little pushy if I'm slow in delivering.  That's her problem.  Mine is that I have to watch my garrulous tongue.  Most days, I have only the animals to talk to and I have a tendency to run off at the mouth, given the opportunity to actually converse with people.  Kellen and William brought me the "gimme" yesterday, more of those delicious oyster mushrooms; way better than a vegetable brush!

It was a good day.

1 comment:

Kathryn said...

I love it when you weave your stories of how-it-used-to-be with todays goings-on. Sounds like it was a good day indeed!