It rolls to a stop.
A car like this
except, that it is bright yellow
held together with chewing-gum, wire and blue tack.
The driver takes up both seats in the front
and in the back sit three large dangerous looking young men
The first time you see them you think
Oh hell...here we go!!!!
The three young thugs leap out of the back and fight to open the door.
The driver exits, despite her size, with a grace and dignity I have yet to see repeated
by any younger or thinner woman
and then she sways like jello
her whole body gently rolling from side to side
as she glides across the hot and dusty ground
a young man on either arm
one to the rear
It is a procession unlike anything I have ever seen before
This little group arrive at the table
and slowly, carefully she extracts a large change purse from the depths of her voluminous dress
and hands it to one of the young men, he takes it and waits patiently until she has both hands
formed into a bowl, then he slowly and carefully tips it into them
The young man who had brought up the rear steps forward and says
Auntie would like a bag please
ripe ones please
a bag of plump, red tomatoes is handed to him and
Auntie then pours that handful of 5cent pieces into my hands.
and the biggest, broadest toothless grin spreads over her face!
and with that the three young men escort their Auntie back to the car, carefully assist her back in, turn and wave and call a big thank you before they head off in a cloud of black smoke and back firing!!!
That was five years ago and every fortnight they are back
the $6.00 is always in 5 cent pieces, Auntie rolls and flows gracefully to the table and the young men are unfailingly polite to me and gentle to her
and that is why every year for five years I turn up to sell tomatoes on the side of the road from January to June!
That is my payment that wonderful Auntie, to whom a ripe tasty tomato is like a fine cut diamond, and now she stays and chats awhile, as do the hundreds of other regulars who appear like magic on the first day back.
I do it for a friend, it started as a favour for two weeks,
she pays my costs and it has become
my mental health break and I wouldn't miss it for quids!!!!
This year I am doing it alone;
It is strange but familiar
I wonder if I will stick with it now!!!!