Going Nuts

ADVANCE, Mo. — Walking with her younger son last week, my mother stopped dead in her tracks, aghast at what she saw next to the road.

It was as if the Mona Lisa had been tossed out a car window.

“Look at that,” she said, shaking her head in disbelief. “What a waste.”

We examined the source of her lament. Scattered next to the street, peeking from beneath the leaves, were untold numbers of pecans.

To get to know Jan Morgan, you must stoop to her level.

And for decades, that level has been along the ground, with her beloved pecans.

She picks, cracks, shells and bags them. She puts them in pies, candies and clusters. Some of the booty she sells;  the rest she keeps or gives away.

In her hometown, she recruits pecans trees like Mike Krzyzewski does basketball players. Sizing them up, she contemplates potential.

Can they produce? Are they consistent? Can they rebound (after a bad season)?

Then she swoops in with a sales pitch, asking a homeowner what portion of his crop he’s willing to part with.

Seldom does she fail to forge a deal.

And that is paramount. For when Jan wins, we all do.

Tasting is believing.

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