Sunday, July 5, 2009

Advice: Follow the Homemade Signs

We spent last weekend with relatives in Williamson County, which is the fastest growing county in the state. Affluence is extensive. There is growing industry and scores of new housing developments, yet one can turn down a highway and find time standing still, as we did.

We were driving out in the country, checking out some land that a relative was considering buying, when we saw a hand-painted sign simply indicating "Tomatoes" were up a gravel driveway. "Yes!! local tomatoes that'll really taste like tomatoes!" said my sister-in-law. We turned in and drove along ancient trees as we passed corn, sunflowers, blackberries, and tomatoes. My husband noted that the house was a frame structure built onto a log cabin. We drove around the back and saw vegetables on the back porch. Figuring that we were on the honor system, we stopped the car and walked up to the house and decided to buy tomatoes and squash. That's when Mr. M came out of nowhere.

We soon realized that this would not be a simple business transaction. Fifteen minutes later we knew we had met an interesting fellow, a hardworking person who had a straightforward affinity for sharing with strangers. His face was chiseled by the weather and his hands were worn. He speech was deliberate as he reviewed his work history (rodeo--until he could buy his first house at the age of 23, decades of construction, and currently supporting his son's local race horsing) and some of the history of the farm and the house (the log part was built in 1835). If we'd stayed any longer, lemonade, no doubt, would have made its way into the mix. It was truly an enriching experience, meeting this man who seems to understand the present but liberally applies the nuances of the past, particularly by where he set his vegetable prices. We paid half of what we would have in the supermarket. Go, thrifty!

I'm sure that Mr. M knew exactly where he had set his prices in relation to commercial outlets.

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