[dropcap]W[/dropcap]e got lucky,” the woman said. “Finally, we got some damn rain. Our field peas were nearly dead from all this dry weather.”
She lived in Dixonville, Alabama, a few feet over the Florida line. It’s a community no bigger than a Persian rug. The woman sold vegetables from her front porch. Though she didn’t have much of a porch – or a home for that matter. Her front yard was a dilapidated heap of rusted junk and a horse pen. Behind the dogtrot house was nothing but sprawling acres of vegetables.
The woman had mountains of tomatoes.
My daddy used to say I ate tomatoes like a bare-assed baboon ate plums. I never knew what that meant, but I had a feeling it was true. I love tomatoes.
“Sure is hot,” Jamie said, loading a baggy full of produce.
“You can say that again,” the woman answered. “After living here all my life you’d think I could tolerate the heat, but I can’t.”
Jamie filled a plastic bag with six pounds until it threatened to spill. As many red beauties as the flimsy thing could hold.
“Let’s see.” The woman slid her glasses on and calculated the weight. “One dollar a pound. That’ll be six dollars, ma’am.”
Jamie shook her head. “No ma’am, it won’t.” Then Jamie dug into her pocket and slapped down a fifty-dollar-bill. “These tomatoes are worth at least fifty dollars, and you know it.”
The woman flashed a tobacco-stained smile at us.
And I realized then, Jamie had stolen my wallet.