It’s not ‘nuts’ when you get to know other folks

Published 6:48 pm Wednesday, October 10, 2012

We all have people we see on a weekly, or even daily basis who we know by face. We exchange smiles with them. Sometimes we even exchange pleasantries.

But, we don’t “know” them.

Yesterday, I decided to get to know someone better.

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The peanut man comes in our office here at The Messenger each Tuesday and when he arrives, the call out to all of us in an attempt to sell his peanut wares is unmistakable.

“Peanuts. Who needs some peanuts today,” he begins calling out from the moment his foot enters the door.

Sometimes I’m on the phone. Sometimes I’m rushing out the door. Sometimes I don’t have cash. But, for whatever reason, the peanut man and I never really had a conversation until this week.

Robert Redden, whose name I may not be spelling correctly because he’d rather talk about peanuts than himself, is an interesting character. He’s been selling peanuts in various forms for about 50 years.

On Tuesdays the Dothan-based peanut man sells to people in Montgomery and Troy, on Wednesdays he heads to Panama City, Thursdays Redden is in Enterprise, and Fridays he’s in Eufaula. The peanut man said he used to sell on Mondays, too, but he’s retired.

It never fails, Redden always has a smile on his face when he brings in boiled peanuts, peanut brittle that his church makes, and other items, such as fried corn and roasted peanuts. And he’s usually wearing a funny T-shirt about peanuts.

You can purchase one bag of nuts for $3 or two for $5. And Redden is always happy to make change, accept pennies, or take checks – a form of payment many shy away from these days. Sometimes, you can even “owe him” because he says he “trusts ya.”

Redden calls his business “Nutty Man’s Peanuts” and said he sells about 600 bags of boiled peanuts each week. The other products vary week to week.

And if you think people don’t notice when you make an effort to get to know them, think again.

As the peanut man started out the door this week, instead of slipping quietly out, he turned around and said, “It was nice talkin’ with y’all today. I’ll see you all next week.”