The Carrot Lady

Bill and I were putting up the outside Christmas decorations a couple of days after Thanksgiving.  Bill was up on a step stool, ready to pound a nail over the garage door for an evergreen spray, when a little old lady wheeled her walker up the drive to where I was standing, giving Bill nail placement directions.  She had to be at least 80 years old and was dressed snuggly in long pants, a bright blue wool coat and a black wool hat, which I’m guessing kept her warm against the chill of the 80-degree afternoon.

“Excuse me,” she said softly, as Bill climbed down from the ladder.  We both smiled at her and said hello.

“Would you be interested in some carrots?” she asked with a sweet smile and a slight quiver in her voice.  “They’re free.”

Bill and I exchanged glances, then looked into the large open paper bag that was resting on the walker’s seat.  It was full of enormous, loose carrots, probably 50 or 60 of them.  She reached into the bag and pulled out 3 or 4 and placed them in my hands.

“Oh my gosh,” I exclaimed.  “They’re huge.”

“”My daughter got them from the retirement center where she works.  If you have a bag, I can give you more.  I have at least another bushel of them at home.”

“Well, this is very nice of you,” Bill said, coming back after retrieving an empty plastic grocery bag, which she proceeded to fill.  “I wish we could have a garden and grow vegetable like this.”

“Well they were just going to waste in the trash and after all, people are starving and good food shouldn’t go to waste,” she said, turning to go.

“Trash?” Bill and I said together.

“Can you believe it?  They just tossed them away, at least two bushels.  So my daughter and granddaughter got them out of the dumpster after the center closed last night.  Enjoy!” she said, smiling, as she made her way down the drive and back to the sidewalk.

“Dumpster?” Bill and I said softly to each other as a small cloud of gnats swarmed out of our plastic grocery bag.  We looked up and watched as the carrot lady waved and toddled away towards another unsuspecting neighbor.

We won’t be making carrot cake any time soon.

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