He rode a bicycle with a basket . I have no idea his age since I was just a child, but my best guess would be early to mid twenties. Mama would take us on Saturday’s to get my brother’s haircut where comic books were piled in the empty seats and an old dresser held a cash box and a glass jar of green liquid. The chairs lined the tiny shop in an “L” shape where the patrons sat and watched the barber clip and scissor his way through politics and local talk with them. If I read those comics once, I read them a hundred times. At this moment I’m remembering the Superman episode where he’s in the dimension where everything is backwards. Oh how I wish I had those comic books! Not so much for the price they might fetch, but for the feeling of predictability that my childhood held.

Little brown paper bags sat like soldiers in perfect formation on the cabinet against the side wall. Mama would buy us each a bag and we ate and read while the grownups talked. I always liked it when there were a lot of customers as that meant more time to read. And the drinks–glass bottles out of the machine at the end of the room where a good pull from the round slots and a quick burst of hiss from the opener was to enjoy the fizzy burn of sweet Coca Cola carrying away the salty goodness of the fresh roasted peanuts.

Sometimes the peanutman showed up on our time there and I would watch the interaction between him and the barber. It was a standing arrangement where he would carefully place the bags, then take his money from the barber and be on his way. I knew something was different about him, but I didn’t know what until I grew up. This gentle soul was most likely making his living from peddling his bicycle and goods because that was the depth of his ability.

My childhood was built on such things. People, places, and things were the order of the day AND THEY WERE ORDERLY. The barber is gone, along with the little shop with the green liquid and comic books. The peanut man rides no more except down the lane of my memory, but I can tell you those days were not just peanuts. They were the making of memories that are worth their weight in gold.