I lived in the greater DC area for four years after college. Upon returning to Pennsylvania as an adult, I found the presence of these stands comforting. They were just part of the backdrop of my childhood and adolescence when my world was small, and it didn't occur to me that it wasn't the same everywhere. As an adult, after living in a more urban area, I appreciated more the culture of the simple grow, sell, eat these stands are part of.
On my new commute, I passed a stand run by an older gentleman. The plywood and black paint sign boldly and cheerfully let all passing cars know that there were Lops for sale. That would be lopes or cantaloupes if you need an interpretation.
Every day, I would pass this man and just dream of sneaking back in the dark and adding the "e". And possibly an apostrophe. He became the lops guy in our house. He was a consistency to both my and John's drives to work. I think I stopped once or twice for some produce, but not really all that often. Mostly because he only took cash, and I never remembered to stop at the ATM. His stand was on the edge of a very large field of weeds and wild flowers. It was the last green before a long strip of trucking industry based around the intersection of three major highways. I kinda grew to love the Lops guy.
Then one summer, he wasn't back. Hm. There were vague rumors that he was sick. He wasn't back the next summer either, and without being told, I knew what had happened. The sultry summer drive became a little less interesting. The field faded into the backdrop having lost its little splash of color.
Lops guy must have owned the lot where his stand was located. And a couple years after he was gone, the heirs or whoever sold the land. Now it is townhouses. They are better than another huge trucking depot or gas station. But still, it's less green, more human being. More backdrop than stand out.
I wish I had remembered to stop at the ATM more.
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