Sunday, August 16, 2009
Produce stand keeps owner's mind on people, not pain
Selling roadside produce is a matter of survival for 76-year-old Wallace Lampp.
From Thursday to Sunday each week, Lampp sits on the back of his wooden trailer on Hecksher Drive selling tomatoes, peaches, watermelon and sweet corn.
"I'd rather sit out here and talk to people and watch the traffic go by," Lampp said.
His alternative is sitting at the home he shares with his son, Bruce Lampp, thinking of the prostate cancer that has been in his body for the last four years - the cancer he feels has likely spread to other parts of his aging body.
He'll sell a plate of Georgia peaches or ripe tomatoes for $3 each, but what he gets from that sale is worth a lot more.
He gets the interaction with customers and the prospect of making enough money so he can eat out once a week at a Golden Corral, CiCi's Pizza or Burger King.
But perhaps most importantly, the stand serves as a distraction from thinking about his cancer.
Lampp has two artificial knees, a failing back and bad hips. But he is resourceful when it comes to preserving his body. For example, to save his back, Lampp enables the help of a young neighbor to move three heavy coolers from his trailer to the stand.
Four days a week, he hauls his produce from his home to Blount Island so he can chat with customers such as Sage Johnson, who stopped in for boiled peanuts one Sunday afternoon.
"You see this operation?" Lampp asks her. "You pay attention. One day, you may want to do this."
This ran in the Florida Times-Union on Wednesday, August 12, as a vignette.
Posted by Andy Jacobsohn at 8/16/2009 07:56:00 PM