about me

Saturday, 11 February 2012

It's all about the people.....!!!

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!!!!


  1. Jules this is such a wonderful anecdote, masterfully shared.

    It's not difficult to see why your mouth-watering ruby fruits would draw people in all shapes and sizes from near & far to your stall and I hope it's a source of great satisfaction and joy for you this year.

    Happy weekend!

    1. It is harder this year as Top used to come with me and set it all up, bring me coffee and give me a lunch break and we would sit together and natter! Yes they come from all over Australia and many return every year...so many stories!

  2. Smiling from ear to ear!! What a fabulous story, Julienne! I have no doubt you will continue to do a fabulous job, as well as continuing to enjoy your mental health breaks, now that you are flying solo! Again...I wished I lived nearby!! I would LOVE to bring my girls to buy some of those wonderful tomatoes from you! Bless Auntie and those boys, it just makes me smile:) xx

    1. I also wished you lived closer, the girls would love it! xx

  3. A very delightful post, Jules. You write so beautifully and straight from the heart. I adore reading about the characters that people meet - the ones we generally don't hear about. People who break the mold. Thank you. x

    1. I have made quite a few truly wonderful friends over the tomato table! People share the most amazing stories, a bit like the friendly bar man, hairdresser or counsellor I think because they share everything then hop in their cars and drive off until next time!!

  4. Wow - that was so wonderful to read! Thanks fro visiting my blog so that I could find yours. I love how you do this as a mental health break and can only imagine all the amazing people that cross your path.

    1. It's the ones you don't expect to be that are often the most amazing Deb! There are far sadder people than me and some with such joy that it is infectious but who ever I always come away tired and happy!!

  5. funny.
    this story is sweet and funny to me.
    my dad used to say all the time....
    i wish i could just sell tomatoes by the side of the road.
    he knew what you know now.


    1. An interesting story.
      Many affectionate greetings. Manoli

    2. Renee, Over the years I have held big jobs with well known companies
      I have hosted TV programs and none of those have given me the joy that this does!!! Go figure! xxxx

      Nela, lovely to see you here our translations are working!!!! xx

  6. gosh, i wish you and those tomoatoes were just up the road from me! gorgeous post xx

    1. Jules, part of the joy of this is that they are the most amazing tomatoes, the flavour is just wonderful and most years they also look wonderful! This year they are a bit marked because it has not been hot enough and they hate rain but the taste is magic xx

  7. What a great story! They do look delicious. My boys love tomatoes. Xo

    1. Katrina these taste better than the ones you grow yourself (or so I have been told because I can't grow anything!) I don't know how Jen does it but her family have been growing tomatoes for generations so I suppose she has some secrets.

  8. What a wonderful story, Julienne...I'm a great lover of tomatoes!!

    1. these are sheer bliss and two years ago a very popular magazine named them as the best large tomato in Australia. Bit of a thrill!!!!

  9. Oh they look soooo tasty! What a great story. I think you will do it again! :) A-M xx

  10. Julienne...I thought for sure I had commented on this post..to say how much I enjoyed it and that you manage to take the time to do something like this. I am sorry you will be on your own this year. I wish I could pull up a pink chair to assist. :)
    Wishing you a very Happy Valentine's Day....

    Jeanne xx

    1. Jeanne I wish you could pull up a pink chair too!!! but hey who knows in the future we might even share a chat in a pair of pink chairs!!!!

  11. Julienne, You are such a fabulous writer, I love this story. I could almost see Auntie in my minds eye. I think it is wonderful that you do this every year. I know it will be different this year, but I am in hopes that it will give you more stories to tell here. Kathysue

  12. Congratulations Jules, you've just won First Prize in Millie's Short Story Competition for this fabulous essay! Now you need to grab your Country Style mag & pen something for their current competition. Their's involves a monetary prize, sorry but I can only stretch to a big kiss & cuddle.
    Millie xx

  13. Your big kiss and cuddle warm my heart Millie and words
    of praise from you are golden treasures! Thank you

  14. Hi Julienne,

    I have just found your gorgeous blog via Sarah! I am now a follower...

    What a wonderful heartwarming story, thank you for sharing.

    Have a great weekend, until next time, Tammy

  15. Oh, how wonderfully told! I hope you share more of your vegetable stand observations..

  16. ...and this sort of story is why I keep on reading blogs. I'm always after a slice of real life from a place I've never been. This one is bang on!


We love to know whose been sitting in the pink chair so please say hello as we love to return the visit.

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