The ageing Greengrocer.


It seems unbelievable. I was hoping for a better and benign world. Only yesterday the sun seemed so happy and yellow. Temperatures above average. And the shopkeeper had a spring in his steps while putting out his cases of vine ripened cherry tomatoes outside on the sun-lit pavement. They were on special for $8.90 a kilo. It was going to be one of those days where he felt happy to be alive. It wasn’t like that yesterday when he was soaked in a gloom without reason. Most times the feelings he harboured, good or bad, had no real cause. They just came about irrespective of daily events, past or present. His wife thought her husband was a natural for gloom and doom but also seemed to have an inborn stubbornness whereby his good humour, by and large, overrode his charcoal gloom. He was his father’s son and as a bonus had inherited the Fruit and Vegie emporium on the High-way to Cronulla. Sometimes, especially when he was in a good mood, he joked ‘the Highway-to hell.’

For some reason he found much to be dark about. Almost everywhere he looked. His loving wife often thought he should stop looking so much and concentrate on the cases of fruit and above all; the cherry tomatoes. She cared deeply about his state of mind and often bought a nice colourful scarf to try and put more cheer behind the counter and also to compliment the roseate coloured pink ladies. Anyone who ever had a bite of a pink lady would remember the unforgettable taste and crispiness. She was out to make things look better, lighter, and spread cheer and sweetness. Her cheeks, especially around her eyes, had creases from decades of laughter and seemed ( to the initiated at least) to oppose his potato coloured frowns and rampant worry lines.

He did his best but also had to cope with the years passing by. The unloading of boxes of Dutch Creams or Desiree at the Flemington fruit market had taken their toll, as inevitably heavy physical work does. He had developed a stoop and a weary sighing. The latter more due to dark thoughts than ageing which his dear wife was sometimes at pains to point out to him. She cut a blood orange and showed him how lovely nature can be. Here,have one, she offered him like the good Eve she was. He smiled and took her offer.
All was not lost.

Tags: , ,

24 Responses to “The ageing Greengrocer.”

  1. Hung One On Says:

    Kipfler’s are nice too. Tutu will be shocked at 8.90 a kg for cherry toms as she grows her own and we feast on them regularly.


  2. berlioz1935 Says:

    Dear Gerard, you must be the eternal optimist if you were “:hoping for a better and benign world”. Your green grocer sees the world in its true colours. No wonder he frowns a lot and looks gloomy. A little bit if sunshine gave you the illusion of a better world? The world is actually all right. It is us who made it into a hell hole. I have no idea why they call us “Humans” because we are just glorified monkeys.


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, but at times, when I enjoy a moment of optimism, I do look at the good things and try and hold on to that moment for dear life. I had a moment of that a few days ago sitting in the sun with H and eating blue grenadier fillets of fish infused with some lime juice and slightly peppered. This morning soured a bit when out of the blue Scott Morrison’s face appeared on the ABC Sunday morning program. The horror!
      It will take a good walk with H and Milo to wean him out of my life again.
      He seems to have morphed into another Netanyahu and does to the boat people what N. does to the Palestinians. Albeit in a smaller way. The intentions are the same; crush any hope for a minority.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. auntyuta Says:

    “Glorified Monkeys”, whatever this is. Peter just tells me that there are some monkeys who eat the babies of other monkeys. Well, isn’t this just monkey business! πŸ™‚
    Aunty Uta

    Liked by 1 person

  4. solidgoldcreativity Says:

    Wonderful phrase, “charcoal gloom”.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Andrew Says:

    “His wife thought her husband was a natural for gloom and doom but also seemed to have an inborn stubbornness whereby his good humour, by and large, overrode his charcoal gloom.” I thought you were describing me, Gerard.


  6. M-R Says:

    And it must never be, Gerard ! As we cannot possibly solve the problems of this world, the most we can do is be aware of them. Just being aware makes us part of things.


  7. Lottie Nevin Says:

    I’ve decided to hide under a rock for a while. Please shout to me when it’s safe to come out…..’Charcoal gloom’ is one of your finest. Bravo, Gerard πŸ™‚


  8. hilarycustancegreen Says:

    I have always found it difficult to ‘enjoy’ times of personal happiness, knowing that so many people are in continuous distress and terror – this has only increased recently. I believe research shows that a depressive’s view of the world is more accurate than a healthy person’s. The norm is rose-coloured spectacles. I seem to have mislaid mine.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, I’d rather know than pretend all is ‘happy’., which, as I keep saying is often overrated.
      I like gardens and pots and pans. They don’t wage war or are cruel to each other. I have yet to hear a geranium make disparaging remarks to a daisy or pink tulip.

      Liked by 1 person

    • berlioz1935 Says:

      “I have always found it difficult to β€˜enjoy’ times of personal happiness…”

      Don’t, Hilary. Rather enjoy those moments. They are the pearls in a string of nasty moments. The world is indeed a dark place from which we try to escape. We have various means to do so and “Hope” is egging us on. “In the end, hope is all we have,” said Wilhelm von Humboldt.

      There are more good than bad people, but this does not seem to make any difference. The bullies usually determine the agenda, because their “will” is stronger than our “rationality” (Schopenhauer).

      Liked by 2 people

      • hilarycustancegreen Says:

        Good advice indeed. I do have much happiness in my life and know that concentrating on making things good for those closest at hand is as much as most of us can do. I agree, individually, people are more good than bad, but we are not good at choosing leaders and our primitive need to belong to group often makes enemies of those in different groups. Thank you.

        Liked by 1 person

      • berlioz1935 Says:

        You are right Hilary. Our need for identity, one of our strong motivators, can blind us and lead us up the garden path. Our would be leaders know this and feed us crumbs we like to hear. Later we find out their motives were of a darker shade.


  9. ThePoliticalVagina Says:

    I feel you all. I’m kind of at odds with myself here also. Melancholy and in despair about the state of the country, state and planet but also grateful to be alive and counting my blessings (there are many). Glorious, bittersweet, poignant life as it is. Wouldn’t be dead for quids! Trying not to buy into fear because it’s like they control us with that.


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, and to keep up the fight for good and punch the bad (metaphorically) is all we can do. Regardless of everything, the sun still comes up each day in spite of what humanity is doing to this planet.


  10. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    Yes, I agree—“charcoal gloom”: is an apt description. Hopefully the blood orange brought about a sunny change in temperature.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: