Wednesday, September 4, 2019


Went to Trader Joe's on Sunday, and there was a man selling Hermiston watermelons on the corner of the parking lot. He had a white van, a couple Costco tables, and a huge box full of watermelons. On the tables were selected watermelons, their ripeness visible from the way he'd turned them. Along the inner edge of the tables was a row of homemade corn muffins.

I parked my car, and walked over to the man. He swallowed whatever he was chewing--presumably a corn muffin--wiped the crumbs from his face, and extended his big, warm hand to me. He was several inches shorter than me, and I noticed a walker pushed up against a nearby tree.

"I'm Gray," I thought I heard him say.

"I'm Carrie," I said.

"I just lied to you, my name is not Great, my name is John. I'm 91 so I get to say and do whatever I want."

"Nice to meet you, John," I said, noticing his smile full of original, white, straight teeth. His eyes looked 91, but the rest of him belied his age.

"Which one do you recommend?" I asked, pointing to the watermelons.

"They're all good--guaranteed. I been doing this for 76 years, in six states," he said, again flashing me his incredible smile.

I grabbed one, and referred to the crudely made sign, to determine the price. "$7.99/each, 2 for $13."

Handing him a $10.00 bill I said, "Keep the change."

"Well, now you gotta take a gift," he said. "I work for that guy," he said, pointing up at the sky, "He told me, 'John, you gotta give people a gift, when they buy one of your watermelons.' I said, 'But I'll go broke!' He said, 'No you won't, John, you gotta give people a gift.' So I made my grandmama's corn muffins. Take your gift."

I took my gift.

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