Mr. Oklin, Food Peddler and All Around Good Guy

Updated on March 21, 2018
kenneth avery profile image

I was born in the south. I live in the south and will die in the south. This is only a small part of the memories I share.

To Every Thing

there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, a time to reap that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up . . ..Ecclesiastes 3:1-8.

David and Harry Silverman with their fruit peddling cart in St. Paul, MN.
David and Harry Silverman with their fruit peddling cart in St. Paul, MN. | Source

And Then There

came Mr. Oklin, the very first Peddler that I had ever met, and although I was pretty cool and "on the ball" at age eight, I was very much in awe of this man. His professional name was Oklin Avery, a cousin of mine who everyone knew as a "Jack of All Trades," and at this time of his life, he was a Grocery Peddler as well as driving a school bus for the Marion County School System--located in Hamilton, AL.

I have to be honest, Oklin was not a high school graduate. He was not even a grade school grad. His "institute of higher learning" was Life that he lived to the fullest each day that came. And Mr. Oklin had another thing going for him besides having an abundance of street smarts. He had "that" human touch and able to identify with strangers who ended up as friends when they had finished purchasing the foods that he was peddling. Plus, Mr. Oklin had a razor-sharp memory and when in two more weeks had rolled by to call on his customers and these "new" customers showed up, Mr. Oklin called them by their first names. Not everyone can lay claim to doing that.

In order for me to write a full-description of someone that made an impression on my life, in this case, Mr. Oklin, I would have to talk for a bit about his love for Snuff, the finely-ground tobacco that is still sold today and Oklin came with a "dip" in his bottom cheek--and I found out years later that he even slept with a "dip" of his Rooster snuff as well as you and I would sleep without something in our mouths. But that was Mr. Oklin's way.

I want to tell you that although I didn't have a photo of Mr. Oklin, the subject of this narrative, I published two photos of two types of Peddlers to just honor Mr. Oklin, my cousin and good friend.


Wherever Mr. Oklin was at the Time

he always found a way to know people there and how he could help them and visa versa. I can attest to this fact about Mr. Oklin and how he helped people: he would call on several people who loved a certain produce, watermelons, cantaloupes, apples, and so on and as it turns out, at the Birmingham (Ala.) Farmers Market, Oklin could get these items below cost by telling the farmers at this spacious place that he was a Food Distributor and he didn't lie. Well, he did just a little. Mr. Oklin didn't know what "distribute" meant. There again going back to his lack of formal education. But I can tell you that the produce he hauled from The Farmers Market back to his customers in Hamilton, Mr. Oklin did not make a huge profit for his trouble. If he did, he would have retired then and there, but in order for him to retire meant not working and that meant NO money. God forbid.

When produce season was over, Birmingham, Ala., served Mr. Oklin in another way: he would collect all sorts of metals in and around our hometown, Hamilton, Ala., and when he thought that he had a good load of metals, he would make the trip to a metals business that would buy the goods from Mr. Oklin, so everyone around Hamilton started calling him a Scrap Iron Dealer. Chalk another job up for Mr. Oklin. As long as it was legal and made money, he was there.

I cannot close unless I tell you about a certain time in 1990 when my family and I were running short of some money for bills and although I had to swallow my pride, I borrowed some money from Mr. Oklin and he never made me sign any paper or give me any secret handshake to seal our agreement. But I did pay him back on the next Friday when I told him that I would. Mr. Oklin and I were friends and friends do things for each other.

It hurt me and many others when Mr. Oklin passed from this walk of life and it was similar to having a bad dream--for men like Mr. Oklin never taste death. It's not in their chromosomes. They just keep on giving and doing and living.

I could say that this was Mr. Oklin's secret formula for a long life.

The Produce Peddler in Fez, Morocco.
The Produce Peddler in Fez, Morocco. | Source

© 2018 Kenneth Avery


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hi, Dianna -- so good to read your comments. Thank you not only for this comment, but all of the rest--all, I might add, were very sweet and very appreciated.

      Stay safe and stay in touch.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hey, Dale -- thank you kindly for such a warm reply. People like Oklin are fading fast as I walk through life and it is those (like) Oklin that always stood out by their genuine lifestyles and giving nature.

      Thanks for stopping by and come back often.

    • GetitScene profile image

      Dale Anderson 

      2 years ago from The High Seas

      What a charming memory! It is meeting people like cousin Oklin and sharing a life with them that enriches our days and rewards us for years to come. I envy you having had him but I am glad that you were thoughtful enough to share your experiences with him so that we could, to some small degree, have him in our lives too.

      I am looking forward to reading your other hubs and you have earned yourself a new follower.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      2 years ago

      God bless that Mr. Oklin for his generosity. I enjoyed your sharing of memories.

    • profile image

      Kenneth Avery 

      2 years ago

      Hi, Elijah -- your comment made me very happy. Glad that our two people were linked together in the circle of life--without them knowing it. Thanks for sharing.

    • The0NatureBoy profile image

      Elijah A Alexander Jr 

      2 years ago from Washington DC

      I really enjoyed that narrative, Kenneth. In florida I met a boy named "Crowe", of about 60 years old then, whose only formal schooling was to have someone to teach him how to write his name. His memory came to me while reading and he was another such person, in many ways. I always enjoy hearing about educate people without formal schooling, most of the few I've met seemed to believe in working to sustain themselves and not for extra. I believe that is a part of why I am so generous, they inspired me in my desire to live ecologically. Thank for adding "Mr. Oklin" to my collection.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)