Thursday, January 16, 2014

Drive By Vegetabling

GFF Stories: Drive by Vegetabling
Rob would occasionally work for Grandpa Faux for week-long stints during the summer, painting, cutting down weeds and being an accomplice in semi-frequent "drive-by vegetabling" trips.  We sometimes wonder if Robin Williams in Mrs Doubtfire heard us call it a drive-by vegetabling or if he came up with the "drive-by fruiting" on his own.  We're guessing the latter.

In order to better understand the beauty of the arrangement, some background may be in order. Grandpa was a contractor (cement and other general contracting) who had a workshop near the edge of town. He also grew up on a farm. Needless to say, some of the land around the shop was pressed into service as a place to grow some peppers, squash and other vegetables. Most of the plants he chose to grow were things that were easy to pick quickly, but were likely to produce more than he could, or would, eat.  In fact, I remember a time that we brought some veg to a restaurant he frequented and he gave it to them and asked if they would prepare a specific meal for him - and they did it.  On the flip side, I also remember he did some work for them when they needed it too, so I'm sure the trade was a good one.

If I could ask him, I bet he'd confirm that he grew Black Beauty zucchini!

So, what to do with extra zucchini? Trailer courts are often a community of their own, with many persons who might enjoy fresh veg once and a while. This was especially true of many of the retired persons living there. Of course, Grandpa was happy to share the excess freely with those he knew. So, what exactly, is the problem with this situation? Person with extra produce meets those wanting some produce. Sounds good, right?

Ok, you've forgotten something. Remember Aunt <fill a name you want here>?  You know, the one who would try to give you money for everything and anything - especially when you were trying to be nice and provide a gift.

Or, is this an Iowegian thing?  I'm not sure, but I do remember the struggle to do the right thing with another relative.  She would always want to give a dollar or two to each of the kids for whatever reason when we visited.  A seven-year old kid is going to have a difficult time looking at a dollar bill and not be happy to take it.  Of course, manners dictate that you should not accept the money. The resulting tumult of repeated offers to pay/give cash and refusals to accept payment/said gift could become tedious, frustrating, uncomfortable and...well... you get the idea.
Entering the picture is a grandchild who is capable of dashing from the cab of the truck, to the front door with a bag of produce and back to the truck in a few seconds. After all, he does need to stay in shape for baseball. 

Grandpa Faux looks at me and says, "Let's go to the shop."  Hey, he's my ride, I can't exactly say no.  So, we go to the shop.  We trudge out to the long single row of plants and he gives instructions on what to pick.  Once we've picked it all, we run back to the trailer and put the excess into paper bags because we have some 'errands' to run before we go to dinner ourselves.

I am positive Grandpa enjoyed this game more than he let on.  But, I'll tell you this, I took it as serious business.  I was NOT going to get caught and I was going to make each delivery without squashing any squish (yes, you read that right)!  He'd stop in front of a place and tell me where to put the bag.  I'd run up to the target home, rap quickly on the front door or ring the doorbell and dash back to the truck.  This was followed by burning rubber (ok, I exaggerate a bit there) as we zipped away. There it is, the anatomy of a drive-by vegetabling.

As I look back on it, I am not sure who was having more fun - me, Grandpa...or the people who began trying to anticipate when we would arrive so they could find some way to catch us.  In one case, we noticed someone peaking out through the blinds of their window as we pulled up.  So, Grandpa sped back up and we went on.  We drove up on the road that was a block away and he gave me instructions to run through the backyard and then slip it onto the front porch.  We drove around the front so we could wave as they picked up the bag from their porch.

I realize now that I only did this a few times since I only stayed with him for a week at a time twice a summer while I was in high school.  But, I still remember the joy of giving - with a little bit of "daring do" to put an edge on it.

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