As surely as the return of the spring season to the calendar, so too does the sound of the street creak and crackle with the turning wheels on the cart owned by the person known locally as "the Apricot Man."
This retired gentleman offers to the public a new hope, a new growth for everyone, each year when he travels through the neighborhoods with his "special spring selections."
These items include cherry trees, peach trees, various garden vegetables, and fruits from the vine. They are all prepared from seed or stripling, ready to plant, and available to you for just pennies.
Although, it is the Apricot Tree saplings for which this man is most identified—so identified that he is known by this moniker which is revealed upon a hand-written sign hanging from what is left of the passenger side door handle on his 1966 Ford Pickup. "V-8 Fode" according to its owner.
Apricot Man, or A.P. for short, does have a personality. He may very well be able to sell ice to Eskimos—he has sold his famous Apricot trees to at least 10 of us in my neighborhood. So delicious. You can make pie or jam, wine or juice, or eat them raw.
Each springtime I enjoy listening to the expert sports advice passed along by this wise old sage. It seems he never gets away from stating "the Braves" when asked who will win the World Series or "The Redskins" when asked who will win the Super Bowl.
We all have to indulge our favorites at some point, don't we?
It is in college football that he and I have our most "enlightened" views of what the upcoming season holds.
"Clemson and Carolina ain't gonna be no good," he says. I can hardly disagree. As much as I want Spurrier to succeed, he does seem past his most dynamic era.
"Spiller gonna be the best runner in football, just you wait and see, can't nobody catch that boy."
Now that has to ring true for anyone who ever caught a glimpse of the Tigers' C.J. Spiller cutting back across the grain last season.
"Clemson needs a coach, that boy don't know nothin' but jumpin' and hollerin." Another observation I can't disagree with.
A.P. took out a pocket knife, held a peach pit in one hand, and split it down the middle with one slice. "See that, that's what Texas gonna do to Oklahoma next year, gonna whup 'em good, where they don't get back up, split 'em right down the middle."
I had to inquire, "do you believe Florida will win the SEC next season?"
"Florida gonna take 'em all to ride next year, just like this year, Alabama gonna be laying on their back yelling where did that Tebow boy go."
Seeing that time was money to the gentle fellow who plies his trade so courteously through the streets, I had to ask more more question before we parted ways.
"Do you think Southern California will play for the National Championship?"
"This is the year Ohio State and Texas gonna play for the National Championship."
With that he was on his way.