[dropcap]I [/dropcap]started raising crickets in ’97,” said Jimbo. “Back when I’s still a truck driver for Publix, in Jacksonville. Sold crickets on the weekends.” He shrugged. “Just for fun.”

Jimbo swatted a gnat from his face.

The Florida gnats were relentless. Judging by the amount of them on old Jimbo, he must’ve tasted better than I did.

A few years ago, Jimbo retired from his Publix job. His diabetes got out of control. “Shoot, no one wants to be told he’s a liability,” he said. “But my boss was right, I couldn’t be on the road like this, not anymore.”

Jimbo sold his semi truck and left Jacksonville. He moved in with his brother, a mortician outside Bristol, Florida.

“I spent a lot of time feeling sorry for myself,” Jimbo admitted. “My brother offered me a job, but hell, funeral work ain’t for me.” He smacked a gnat on his cheek. “You got to be born for that kind of thing.”

Figuring he had nothing to lose, Jimbo decided to sell bait. Crickets and earthworms. He built a tiny plywood trailer with two air conditioning units. Then he stocked it with fishing paraphernalia, and parked it along State Road 12.

He sold out of crickets his first day.

Nowadays business is steady, and Jimbo doesn’t sit around pouting anymore. He hasn’t any time to. He’s too busy raising bait.

“Funny thing,” Jimbo said. “Just when you think your life’s over, you do something like open up a damn cricket stand.”


Funny things, those cricket stands.

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