One of my favorite places to visit while on my bicycle was Johnson's Fruit Stand. It was an old wooden "hut/shack" that sat in the sweltering heat on the north side of town. Ez & Ada Johnson (who happen to be my great aunt and uncle) owned the fruit stand for years. I don't remember Ez at all, but no one could ever forget Aunt Ada. She was a wonderful woman who disguised herself as an intimidating, all business, stern and sometimes grouchy gal. The whole front of the fruit stand stood open facing highway 91. The tables were covered with bushel baskets (or boxes) of ripe fruit in need of a quick sale. The minute you entered the stand you could smell the sweet scent of apricots, peaches, plums, apples, raspberries, strawberries, tomatoes and "spuds". Ada also carried a small assortment of candy--my favorite was "banana taffy" which came in a long flat slab wrapped in waxed paper (seems I'm always writing about candy . . . hmmm). The floor was cement, daily swept, with an occasional smashed raspberry or scattered fruit leaves. In the very front of the stand was an old chest-type pop cooler filled with the most wonderfully cold assortment of great pop! There was an assortment of "Nehi" flavors, grape, orange crush, wild cherry, lemon/lime, root beer, and of course 7-Up. And they all came in glass bottles. Once you purchased your drink for a total of TEN CENTS, you went back to the cooler where you popped off the lid on the bottle opener at the front of the machine. A little to the north of the fruit stand stood a couple of picnic tables where you could sit and drink your pop and watch the traffic go by. I didn't venture up to the fruit stand very often but when I did, I truly loved it.
As I got older and moved back to Firth, the Fruit Stand was still open for business. I remember one time I was looking for raspberries to make some fresh jam. The berries on the table appeared to be overly ripe and I asked Aunt Ada if she had any in the back that were fresher. She thought for half a second and said, "Well if you don't buy these--who will?" Who will indeed? I bought the raspberries, picked out the rotten ones and grinned as I made my "ripe" raspberry jam! She was one in a million!