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Breaking the Ice with a Crusty Old Farmer

Breaking the Ice with a Crusty Old Farmer

The farmers market this morning.

He was a bit of a curmudgeon. An old-timer with a bald head that was darkly tanned from years of work in the field. White hair wrapped around the back of his head from ear-to-ear. His dirty turquoise t-shirt was stretched tight over a large belly. Worn jeans and work boots and wire rim glasses.

His attitude was all business. Abrupt the way old-timers can be. He didn’t make eye-contact with me when I stepped up to his table.

“All I got left,” he said dismissively, waving his hand over the scattered items on his table.

“Well, I could use some zucchini.”

“These here are 75 cents, those there are a dollar.” Still no eye contact.

I picked up 3 of the 75¢ zucchini and started putting them in a plastic bag.

“75¢ each or you can have 4 for three dollars,” he said.

I stopped and looked at him. “Well, that’s quite the savings now, isn’t it?”

He grabbed the bag out of my hands to finish filling it. He grinned and then peered up at me over his wire rims. Our first eye contact.

“Just seein’ if you paid attention in yer math class.”

“It appears I did. Tell you what, toss in another. I’ll take advantage of your special.”

As I paid him, he leaned toward me in a friendly manner. I’d passed his test; a test I was unaware at the time that I was taking.

“Most people don’t pick up on that, you know,” he said.

“It’ll be our little secret,” I said and stepped away.

I looked back to see him packing up the last of his produce crates for his trip back to the farm. He was smiling.

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