For the Labor Day weekend, Agricolae demanded an impromptu excursion away from the familiar environs of Charleston. After assenting, I was advised a few hours later that we would be visiting Beaufort for an overnight stay. We went, we saw, we spent (my apologies to Caesar).
Upon leaving Beaufort, we came upon Hodges Vegetable Stand, located on Highway 17, just north of the Gardens Corner intersection. Still having a few dollars in my pocket, I further assented to a stop for a vegetable purchase. Hodge’s is a well-built, organized, and fully stocked produce stand, and we gladly bought fresh vegetables, jams, and such for our larder. Mr. Hodges could not have been more friendly, helpful, and patient as we peppered him with questions about his products. After 10 minutes or so, he carefully added up our bill, including sales tax, and made change. I noted, during the exchange, that he and I were of the same generation, in that we both learned how to make change by counting back, starting in the smallest increment. We both chuckled, sharing a nice moment together, and the Agricoli loaded into the car and drove off.
Today, I read in the paper that Mr. Hodges was shot dead yesterday in an apparent robbery at his vegetable stand. It passes beyond my comprehension that such a nice, pleasant man should be murdered for the $100 or so he held in his cash box, and that our world is now deprived of yet another gentle soul. A good man, working hard, selling the fruit of his work for a fair price, and laboriously recording state sales tax so as to not run afoul of the law…….whose life is taken in the random collision of good and evil.
I still have his sugar-free Peach Jam, which is delicious.
God rest his soul, and God damn the person (or persons) that took the life of this gentle man.