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Street Talk

Tomatoes Make Market Appearance

By Mickey Howley

Joe Morgan was sitting on the bench last Friday mid-afternoon in front of Turnage Drugs taking in the sights. He’d had a lunch at the BTC, stopped in the Velvet Glove, looked at J’s On Main, viewed the new show at Yalo Studio and checked out J Clayton’s, walked around downtown, had just come out of Bozarts and was giving himself a break before he went in Turnage for a chocolate shake. Joe was part of a group the Aberdeen Visitors Bureau had brought over to visit the Valley.
Joe is retired from Eastern Airlines. There were 10 other folks on the mini-bus with him and they had picked Water Valley as the place they wanted to see. Seems they had heard of us.  
So there on the sidewalk Joe and I started talking about Aberdeen and it being on the Tombigbee Waterway and how a couple of folks in that group had done some or all of the “Great Loop.” The Great Loop is the connecting inland waterways of the Great Lakes, joining the Hudson, Ohio, Mississippi, and Tennessee Rivers combined with the Intracoastal Waterway. One floats in a boat, usually your own fairly large boat, in a big circle around the eastern United States.
Aberdeen is popular stop for folks doing that. Not that there are many doing that. But it is one of the things that brings visitors to Aberdeen.  
No boats bringing folks to Water Valley, despite a name that might suggest that is possible. But people are coming. Slowly, on a small scale the Valley is a regional day trip destination.  Why do folks visit the Valley? The current answer is for food and art and they’ve heard there is a bit of activity on Main Street again. So they figure they’ll show up for lunch and look around. Spend some money. Talk to people. And then head back. Will that type of commerce make us rich here? No, but it is nice to see other folks curious and enjoying downtown. I often compare small town tourism to the cherry on top of the icing on the cake. If the cake and icing are good, the cherry is not needed. Just a nice tasty touch.
There’s lots of ways to get the word out – newspaper, radio, television, magazines, Twitter, e-mail blasts, website updates, Instagram, Facebook, handbills, posters on windows, paper stapled to telephone poles, shoe polish on your car window, mass postcard mailings, yard signs, and banners.     
They’re here! There were tomatoes at the Farmers Market last Saturday. They went fast. They’ll be more this Saturday. You want them. You know you do.
A very pleasant surprise last Saturday was the fresh squeezed lemonade stand. And a spicy surprise was Lawton Gafford’s turkey and beef jerkys. Now you have to imagine how this all works, but hot coffee, fresh lemonade, spicy turkey jerky, and Carline Herring’s hot fried pies will make you one happy market person while you grab those tomatoes. See you Saturday under the big magnolia from 8 to 11.

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