Tuesday, April 22, 2008


This past Saturday was the first day of spring break. Every high schooler was down at the beach soaking up the warm spring sunshine and making a general commotion. Everybody, that is, except me.

Nope, I spent the day running around like the Energizer Bunny, saving the beachgoing for sometime in the future (Personally, I think a farmer's tan fits my personality perfectly.)

I slept in (by my standards) till 8:00 AM, and made my way down to my Uncle Stu's house. I guess it's weird for a 17-year-old's best friend to be 58 years his elder...But I've never met any other person whom I have more in common with than this cracker-wisdom-loaded cousin of mine.
After tying over 600 knots on my mullet net-in-progress, we headed down to Tommy Allen's Feed Store just a minute down the road.

After parking the truck in the gravel "parking lot," we made our way up the creaky front porch steps, through the wide-open doors, and into the non-air conditioned shack. Saying "hello" to the attendant and explaining our reason for being there, we made our way over to the seed counter. Bags upon bags of seed were strewn everywhere, and after rummaging around for a few minutes, we found what we came for: Yellow straight-neck squash. Uncle Stu measured out his seed on the decades-old scale, put them in an sack, and brought them up to the check-out counter. All measurements are "on your honor.". A business based on the honesty of its customers? That's weird.

Later in the day, I went over to my mom's old high school sweetheart and datil pepper farmer, Randy Haire's, house. I showed up with the intention of buying 15 plants for $15, and ended up leaving with over 100 plants for $0, but not without some objection on my part. We had a very good talk about growing peppers, agriculture in general, and its quick ongoing disappearance in our home county. While we were talking, his daughter, who appeared to be slightly younger than I, approached gripping two painted turtles bound for their front yard swimming hole. She looked at me, and I could read her mind: What's he doing hanging out with my dad? That's weird.

When I finally got home late that afternoon, I mowed the lawn and took out the rest of my turnip greens. Some of them were starting to get that white mold on them, tipping me off that it was just getting too hot and humid for them. I had bush tomatoes to replace them with, anyway. I then spent the entire evening sorting, washing, blanching, and freezing the last of my crop of turnip greens.
As you can see, there was no shortage, and upon offering some to the neighbors across the street, they did not know what I was talking about; they had never heard of eating turnip leaves. That's a weird thing to do.

Yep, instead of spending the day at the beach like everybody else, I spent mine hanging out with old people, talking about old things, planting squash, harvesting turnips, and speaking with an old datil pepper farmer like he's an old friend.

I kind of like being weird.


Paintsmh said...

You're back you're back!!! You have been so missed! And you aren't weird. At least not to me!

Hurricane Teen said...

paint - awww I kind of like being weird!

Paintsmh said...

oh fine. you can be weird. if that is what makes you happy. personally i think you are more unique than weird. not like those card board cut out guys.

Floridacracker said...

No, you ARE weird, but that's okay.
Works for me anyway.

HT, I know (knew) Randy Haire. He, his Mom, and I all worked on Povia Brothers farms when I was your age. We worked the gladiola harvest at the packing house in the JO Miller building down on Riberia Street. Every summer from 8th grade into college I worked the harvest.
Keep name dropping, it's fun to hear you mention people I knew.
That old feedstore used to be Albrittons Feed store and it was on the corner of Masters Drive and Palmer, until they moved it to State road 16.

Hurricane Teen said...

FC - Randy Haire is one heck of a guy. He's a lot like my Uncle Shelley (another name drop) with his thick cracker accent and wit.
My mom was telling me that she never imagined while she was in high school that her future child would be visiting and having a good talk with her boyfriend at that time...We really ARE from a small town, even though it doesn't feel so much like it anymore.