Enduring on the Lake

Friday, August 29, 2014

Chapter 19

Dog Belly was packed both with people and with vendors.  After a slow start that had worried the local economy autumn tourist season here in October was finally in full swing.  However Mrs. June and Mrs. Slowthower both shook their heads and said, “Honey, this is nothing.  Last year this time people were parking up and down the sides of the highway ‘cause the parking lot was full.  This year the parking lot is only three-quarters full and the vendors are looking worried.  Maybe good for us maybe not, we’ll see.  Max!” 

Max winced at the bellowed call but politely answered, “Yes ma’am?” 

“You stick with Sydney and help her out.  There’s a few that like to set their thumb on the scale.” 

Max looked at me but managed to keep a straight face until we had separated from the rest of them.  “You gonna let anyone cheat you Syd?” 

“You remember what happened the last time some guy tried to cheat us?” 

Max nodded.  “I reckon he does too,” he answered with a big grin. 

“I reckon he does at that,” I agreed with a satisfied grin. 


Apples, snap beans, collards, grapes, okra, peanuts, pears, pecans, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, and turnips.  The back of my pick up was loaded, but not with just fruits and veggies.  I went a little nuts in the stalls selling plants.  Not regular plants but exotics that would have to be extra careful of and grow them in the sun room.  Calamondin oranges, citrumelo (house-sized citrus that is a cross between an orange and a pumelo grapefruit), kumquats, lemons, limes, sunquats (a lemon/kumquat hybrid), Tahitian orange, tangerine, acerola, Australian beach cherry, miniature bananas, dragon fruit, dwarf pomegranate, fig, guava, June plum, miracle berry, olive, papaya, passion flower, peanut butter fruit, pineapple guava, start fruit, tree tomato (aka Tamarillo), and yerba mate. 

I also bought some clearance trees and plants that I plan to plant in the spring after the last frost.   A couple of raggedy pots of ostrich ferns, teaberry, cornelian cherry (actually a dogwood), crabapple, elderberry, hawthorn, highbush cranberry, quince, serviceberry, mulberry, redbud, rosa rugosa, spice bush, lilac, black walnuts, chestnuts, sunchokes, pawpaws … and I brought a whole croaker sack of daylily roots. 

One of the surprises of the day was meeting Josh.  Max and I were making our way along one of the aisles when a man grabbed him.  Max was just in time to laugh, “Josh!” but the man in question saw me slip the sharpened nail file back under the wide sweatbands I was wearing on my left wrist.  Normally those bands are so heavy plastic grocery sacks don’t leave a dent in my arm when I’m shopping but they are handy for other things as well. 

“You gonna introduce me to your date?” he said to Max. 

“Aw Josh!” 


“Fine.  Syd this is Josh.  Josh this is Syd.  Are Tommy and Melissa here?” 

“Sorry Buddy, not my weekend.” 

Max sighed.  “Figures.” 

Josh sighed too.  “Yeah, it does.  But …”  He pulled from behind his back a large hot dog.  “But don’t tell Zane … or Mom.” 

As Josh suddenly disappeared into the crowd I asked, “Am I going to get in trouble if you eat that?”

“Naw.  Josh was just teasing.  Zane would try to get a bite then take half and Mom would try to eat the other half.  They’re crazy for dawgs fully loaded.” 

“No offense but … ugh.  That thing looks like a three day streak of indigestion.” 

Max just grinned and took his first bite. 

Another surprise of the day was to find a couple of new stalls that were basically discout grocers and freed stores.  They were doing a banging business.  My flea market cart was full to bursting and I still had to figure out how to get the trees to the truck and I was irritated that I wouldn’t be able to take advantage like I wanted to. 

“But Zane would help out,” Max said sharing my frustration as my deal finding had become a game to him. 

I jumped when I felt hands on my shoulder and a voice right in my ear.  “Someone taking my name in vain?” 

“Geez Zane.  Scare me next time why don’t you.”  I saw Max grinning and realized he had known his brother was behind me the whole time.  I looked at him and glared.  “You need your arm frogged?” 

Max was unrepentant and laughed, the sound of it finally less rusty and unused. 

I shook my head and asked Zane, “So you can help?” 

“Let me have your keys and I’ll bring your truck around so you can get your birds some feed.  While that’s being loaded you can throw the other stuff on there too. 


“Are … uh … are you sure you know what you’re doing with all these plants Syd?” Zane asked after following me back to the cabin and helping me unload the truck. 

“I’m going to transplant them into nice terracotta pots and put them in the sunroom.” 

“There’s still not much heat in that space.  If these things get too cold …” 

“The stove in there is going to help on the coldest nights and most of the varieties I got here do have some cold hardiness to them.  I know some of these may not work out but I’m hoping most of them do.” 

“Fine, none of my business anyway, but if you are putting all this in the sun room, what do you need the outdoor greenhouse for?” 

“I’m not sure what my parents have planned for it.” 

“So the whole greenhouse thing was something your parents wanted and not you?” 

“Not exactly.  The sun room was my idea but Daddy wound up liking it too after I showed him some plans that I had found in a book.  The greenhouse is something Momma always wanted but never had time for even if there had been money for it.  Now the greenhouse is more of a coldframe type thing the way to reworked it … step down into it but it’s well-drained because of the slope of the hill … and that means we needed less Plexi and Lexan.  Daddy really ate that up.” 

“Don’t take this the wrong way Syd but the way your dad pinches a penny I’m having a hard time seeing it.  He got a little green around the gills there for a minute.” 

“And then laughed and said it was a good idea,” I reminded him.  “It was actually Mom that winced when I told them about roll downs that I wanted to put on the sun room.  But Daddy OK’d it – and Mom did too – when I found those roll downs in that scrap yard.  And in case I never told you … thanks for believing in the craziness of the plan to help me achieve what I was trying to do.  I could envision the tracks the door would slide down but I couldn’t quite figure out how to make it work without getting in the way of the rest of the construction.  I almost wrecked everything.” 

The top of Zane’s ears were a little pink at the praise but he smiled and said, “Next time though let me do the measuring.  And you buy your … er … accessories before we start building.  Deal?” 

“Deal,” I said with a grin.


  1. Thanks Kathy i'm really liking this story.

  2. Wow......you are outdoing yourself with this one. I really enjoy it.Thank you!

  3. Peanut butter fruit? I googled it and there are at least 4 varieties with this name. Do you know which variety really tastes like peanut butter! Thanks, and thanks for the story update. God bless you and yours

  4. Great new chapters...thanks Kathy!