At the Pecan Warehouse

22 Jan

The pecan tree who lives here did not bear much in the way of pecans this year. This is perhaps because pecan trees sometimes have off years, or perhaps because I minimized my watering schedule, or perhaps a bit of both. But in any case, this necessitated my finding some pecans elsewhere, to send to my mum, who lives where fresh pecans are not to be had.

I got myself together this afternoon to visit a place of pecans I had only bicycled by in past years. I brought a box, and cash in small bills.

The pecan warehouse was just that, a warehouse. I wheeled my bicycle into the entrance, and was greeted by a man who was asleep in a folding chair.

There was another chair available, one of those old schoolroom chairs with a metal tubular frame and a seat of unfinished splitting wood. They last forever. I have one of those chairs.

I moved my bike around enough to make a bit of a noise, which awakened the man.

“Are they all the same?” he asked.

“I’m looking to buy,” I replied. He then referred me to the office immediately to the north, next to the other chair.

I opened the door. Inside a woman was interviewing a potential employee. She asked me to wait. I closed the door.

I sat in the chair, in the sun. I discussed the quality of the sun with the man in the other chair. I got up and peered around the warehouse, full of burlap bags and stacks of giant bales, and signs saying “Stay away from machinery.”

“Is that all pecans?” I asked.

“Yes.”

“Wow.”

Time passed. The guy in the other chair told me about how he used to bicycle, went everywhere, and was planning on doing so more shortly. “That’s very good,” I said. Then he got up and started sweeping the warehouse with a pushbroom, leaning the stump of his missing leg into his crutch.

Meanwhile I listened through the thin wall, to the interview. There was talk of what the young man’s father used to do, and gloves, and boots and ear protectors. The woman doing the interview sounded pretty upbeat, but after the young man left and she came out to talk pecans with me, she immediately told me about how hard it is to keep employees here. “At the end of the year I wear myself out filling out W-2’s. Some of these kids only stay two days.”

I nodded and agreed. Unemployment is very low here.

“I call them kids,” she added. I confirmed that I, too, call them kids.

She looked straight at me and asked, “So what just might you be looking for?”

I described what I wanted. Inshell pecans with a thin shell, not too hard for my mother to crack.

She nodded contemplatively. “I have some Bartons.”

She went off into the recesses of the warehouse, looking for Bartons. She opened bags as she went, peering into them, ascertaining that these were not Bartons. When found, the Bartons looked good, so I asked for twenty pounds, and she and the warehouse guy brought them over to the scale and weighed them out.

“Does your mother do this to strengthen her hands?” she asked me.

“No, she does it because she loves to bake,” I responded. I’m not sure we were having quite the same conversation, but she smiled and nodded her head emphatically.

We all briefly discussed how to pack these pecans onto my bicycle, and my ability to carry such around. I admired the pecans, paid my money, and then I went off into the sunset, Bartons in hand.

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