“Free Range 16: Sweet Cherries for Sale”

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Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Size: 16″ x 12″
Year: 2015

Series: “Free Range: California”
Odometer: 766.8 miles
Notes: Was digging this roadside view near a produce stand selling “sweet cherries” and had just gotten set up when the cherry slinger walked up and told me I’d have to move. Says I was blocking his sweet cherries sign. I wasn’t, but I could see how from over at his stand it might look that way. I began to tell him about my road trip, which he took as a challenge and interrupted to inform me bluntly that he’d driven all the way from Modesto, so he wasn’t impressed, and furthermore that he had a permit to set up there, and even furthermore that since he was there first there was no point finding a mutually beneficial solution. He was real good at cussing too. His parting shot was that I had to move or he would call the sheriff and have me forced to relocate.

After he left I was wondering if it was really worth the hassle when I see a uniformed official approaching on foot. Shocked he had the pull to get an officer out that quickly I resigned to pack it up as I hadn’t even started painting yet anyway. The official comes around to the back of the van and starts right off telling me I wouldn’t be able to park there… then his face came into focus and it was none other than a long time friend and college housemate who had been working with the state parks doing trail construction for years in this area. Apparently he’d driven by, saw me and was just stopping to say hi and joking around. He had no idea about cherry man’s problems.

We talked for a bit in full view of cherry guy and resolved to just move the van a few feet and carry on as I was safely parked, not blocking his sign, and permit or not he didn’t own the highway. Pretty funny to think of cherry guy seeing me talking it over with a very official looking park ranger and staying put. I wasn’t finished painting when cherry man closed down and when he came over to get his sign, he backed up as close as he could to the back of my van and made a great effort to spray me with gravel as he put all the horse power his Chevy astro could mister on the line. It was sad. Barely kicked up any dust. I’m still embarrassed for him. Oh well. Just bummed he bailed before I finished. I was going to buy some cherries.

 

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