I ran into Uncle Clyde the other day. Uncle Clyde’s one of those people you’re related to but you’re never quite sure how. We have a lot of those type relatives in the South, because if you’ve ever been married into the family anywhere down the tree, we still claim you.
Anyway, Uncle Clyde was driving the same old beat-up pickup I’d seen years before, and when I saw him pull into the parking lot at the local B-Quick store, I walked over. “Hey, Uncle Clyde, how you doing?”
Cocking his head a little to side, I couldn’t really tell if he didn’t remember me or whether his eyes worked better on a slant. “Don’t you know me, Uncle Clyde? I’m Sally’s daughter.”
“Oh, yeah, gal, how ya’ doing? I ain’t seen you in a month of Sundays. How’s yo’ Mama doing?”
“She’s mean as ever, but you know her, that just means she’s doing great. What you got in the back of your pickup there?” I asked as I glanced at the pile of green stacked up in the bed of his truck.
“That’s turnip and mustard greens I brought up here to sell. That little foreign guy what owns the store there told me I could sell ’em out here in the parking lot.”
“Well, that was nice of him,” I said.
“Yeah, I offered to give ’em some for letting me sell ’em, but I don’t think he knows much about turnip greens.” He laughed and shook his head. “I guess they don’t eat greens where he comes from. You want some? I picked ’em this morning.”
“No, thanks. Mother keeps me supplied with plenty since hers came in. Is the greens business good here, Uncle Clyde?”
“Naw, not really, but it gets me out of the house so’s I don’t have to listen to your Aunt Bertha all day griping about one thing or another. I make my money on my other crops. I found this one green that people seem to love. They come all the way from three counties away to buy it.”
“Really? What is it?”
“I’m not sure. I was out there in the far back cleaning a field to grow sweet potatoes when I seen these little weeds growing. I was just about to cut them down, but the man living next door saw it and told me he’d buy it. Next thing I knew people were pulling up in the driveway wanting to know if I had any more. Shoot, I just decided if that’s what they want, I’d just plant that instead of them sweet potatoes. I got to say, I don’t know how they cook it, but it sure does sell good. Funny looking thing, though.”
“Has no one ever called it by name?”
“Naw, they usually just say so-and-so told them about the field. I just tell ’em to go back there and get what they want, and then I weigh it and charge ’em so much a pound.”
“Uncle Clyde, have you ever seen marijuana? That’s not what you’re growing, is it?”
Uncle Clyde slanted his head again and smiled. “Not that I know of, honey, not that I know of. You don’t worry about me, child. I’m sure it’s okay or the sheriff would have told me. After all, he’s my best customer.”