I’m just sayin’ . . .

Last night I was thinking about a peddler who used to come down our red dog road in a put-together truck of some sort, wood sides to the bed, tall posters at each corner. Merchandise, what I believe would be classified as sundries, hung in layers from every inch of those boards, inside and out. Tools clanging against kitchen pots and pans and utensils created a cacophony so dissonant and compelling I was certain I heard the vestigial tail of a Bohemian rhapsody. The peddler came only twice a year – in the fall and again in spring. He had snuff and spices and exotic flavorings not often seen in our part of the world. Thread and needles of all shapes and sizes, bolt ends of dazzling remnants and trim, zippers, ivory and bone and mother of pearl buttons. Candles and lily of the valley soap and lotions and potions and camphor oil, snake oil too, I’d imagine. Exotics meant to excite the most unexcitable of the women who were lured by the call of the wild. Inside houses I could see the women put down the iron or their mending or the bowl of green beans they were snapping while they one by one traipsed to the side of the road, waiting for the noise to stop in front of their gate.

I started thinking maybe I’d watched too many episodes of The Waltons. To keep myself honest, I called Sissy (Myrna Moles Meredith)—the my best friend Sissy of Running on Red Dog Road. Do you remember, when we were real little, a peddler in an old truck, I asked. Yes, of course she did, and she could describe the truck too, remembered what her mother had bought off the man. She knows his name, but it escapes her at the moment. She’ll get back with me on that. What a wonder to have a friend who remembers an old peddler who came down our red dog road seventy years ago. Then she remembers, or thinks she does, that he was a Mr. Smith.

Anybody out there have any memories of our peddler or one of your own? I’d love to hear your stories.


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