MAGPIE TALES: The Country Squire
Vonda called it a truck farm, even though it was a station wagon that delivered her crop to customers. It wasn't long after she started selling the tomatoes door-to-door that she decided to name the enterprise after the vehicle, and thus Country Squire Tomatoes was launched. Trevor and Millie helped her with much of the work, sometimes pulling their fox hunt green Radio Flyer Wagon, a rare model made only from 1971 to 1973, down Harkness Boulevard.
The kids hated being in the business, especially Trevor who was prone throwing out the tomatoes and turnips after just a couple of calls in the neighborhood. Or sometimes, when he was feeling more altruistic he'd leave them on the front steps of the two widows who lived down on Bratford Lane. "Always give the widows a discount," Vonda told him. When he returned with an empty wagon and just three dollars, he would explain that he'd given so many widows discounts that his profits were minimal. Vonda took to searching his embroidered backpack after that, always sure there would be an inappropriate magazine or airplane glue he blown the money on inside of it. She found nothing but his algebra exam with "D-" on the top, one of many secrets he failed to share with her.
Millie was another story, coming home with straight As and $30 to $50 after each trip down the street. Once Vonda advanced to growing lettuce that she sold to artisan bakeries and shitake mushrooms, Trevor had gone on to selling his mother's jewelry to the widows and giving the vegetables to the soup kitchen down the street. Vonda was pleased to see he was now able to bring home at least $25 a week but was certain there had been a break in at the house since her prized pearls were missing. As they sat over soup and saltines in the kitchen, Vonda would try to read Trevor's gaze, but it was almost impossible to catch as he looked directly into his bowl, occasionally breaking the crackers and dropping them into his bowl, mysterious little islands in a red sea of pureed tomatoes.
The next week, when Mrs. Aldrich passed Vonda on 23rd Avenue, she nodded and smirked, "And so how is the mother of the country squire today?"