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This Will End Just Peachy

, , , , , , , | Right | March 10, 2022

My dad witnessed this incident in the late 1960s. He had gone to see a neighbour (rural area, so about a mile away) to get some peaches for my mum to can. Ben, the neighbour, was an old guy who had a small peach orchard and grew the best peaches ever. It was a bit of a hobby, and like many small orchardists (for my parents it was cherries and pears) he sold the fruit at the roadside. Dad had loaded up the peaches and was just talking with Ben when a car pulled up. Big city folks.

The car was a white Caddy convertible with Washington, US plates. This took place in Canada, so they were obviously not from around here. The couple, in their fifties, were a stereotype. The woman had blonde beehive hair, snazzy sunglasses, tight capri pants, and a tiny poodle. The man had socks and sandals, plaid shorts, a patterned shirt, a weird hat, and some attitude. He told Ben he wanted a box of peaches and demanded to know the price.

Ben was an old guy who knew a thing or two — about peaches and about people. Though a funny man to his friends, he had the ability to be stone-faced when needed (think Buster Keaton). He told the man that each thirty-pound box was (some price I don’t know, but it was probably a couple of bucks or so back then). The box was handed over and money changed hands. If that was it, then there would be no story, but…

Mr. Big City suddenly accused Ben of selling him less than the agreed-upon thirty pounds. Ben, who knew d***ed well what a thirty-pound box felt like, quietly disagreed. Big City insisted, so Ben hauled out a scale, zeroed it with an empty box, and transferred all the peaches into it to get an accurate weight. It was more than thirty pounds.

Dad said it was magical as Ben looked the tourist in the eye, and with a laconic, deadpan delivery, held his hand out, palm up, and said, “You owe me fifteen cents.” And the hand remained out until the guy fished for change and paid before quietly slinking back to his car.

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