September 29, 2021

"Kool-Aid, Kool-Aid, 5 cents a glass"

My family and I have often and happily traveled Back Roads on our forays from one area of Michigan to another. My children grew use to the sudden stops when I would spot a stand along the side of a road. Climbing out of the car I encouraged them to at least TRY looking thirsty or hungry, claiming that at last we can have sustenance for our parched tongues or bellies. Ours is a delightful hobby, and one that helps support local entrepreneurs, some cute as a bug.

On one leisurely outing near Ann Arbor, I spotted signs with arrows pointing toward a peanut stand. A peanut stand! Different. Drawing closer we spotted a middle-aged man, perhaps Middle Eastern in origin, seated in a worn lawn chair next to a bubbling caldron. Again, different! He held a colorful umbrella over his head as he leaped from his chair and waved and greeted us with a full-faced smile urging us to stop.  Of course, this is what we do, AND, because of the unique stand, we pulled into the driveway. 

 It’s so important to have an adventure

to help clean the sour and painful things in your soul

The entrepreneur proudly raved about his "creation" and shared the story behind his product, assuring us that we would love these peanuts in a shell. The thick aroma was intoxicating, drawing us in. Our host told us these peanuts had been boiling in a mixture of Cajun spices for ten hours. Ten Hours! With extreme care, he scooped out a trial sample, placing the mixture in paper towels giving the instructions to first suck the juice out of the pods. We did and enjoyed a mild bean texture mixed with pleasant spices. 

Purchasing two large plastic cups we pulled out of his driveway and into traffic feeling almost giddy at his joy over his three new converts. He waved heartily and yelled out, “watch for me; I’m here on summer days.” We hollered back a hearty dose of encouragement.

As our adult children move on and travel on their own journeys, I hope they find themselves thirsty and, as they spot a little kid or adult selling drinks or treats, that they feel compelled to pull over and exclaim to the entrepreneur that this was exactly what they needed -- and obviously, pay generously with a tip. I also hope they remember fondly the quick stops we made as we adventured Michigan’s back roads together.

 Comic created by a friend, Kim Perez Greve

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