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Temps not stopping ‘peanut lady’

Wednesday, it was 96 degrees outside, and Aldean Brooks was on her corner at the intersection of Prestwood Bridge Road and the Bypass, hawking roasted peanuts.

That day back in March when flooding prompted the closure of county offices, she – and her umbrella – were on the corner, hawking roasted peanuts.

When it was 30 degrees outside this past winter – you guessed it – she was out there, hawking her peanuts.

Brooks moved from Lockhart to Andalusia in “years past,” and since then, has been a regular fixture on the vacant lot across from the Gitty-Up-N-Go. She attempts to meek out a small supplement to her disability check by selling peanuts to passersby.

How she came to sit there is a story of making ends meet, she said.

After working in the sewing factory for “ooh, chile. A long, long time,” Brooks said she had to file for disability when her “hands quit working” because of debilitating arthritis. That was in 1997, she said.

“I do it to pass the time and to make a little extra money,” Brooks said of her near-daily bicycle pilgrimage from her nearby rental house to the corner. “I get my peanuts from Sam’s. They come already roasted, and I put them in a bag. It’s expensive to live. I don’t have a car. I ride a bicycle. You do what you got to do.”

She charges $3 a bag.

“I made $15 so far,” she said proudly of the day’s take.

Ailing health prevents Brooks from making it to her regular site “as regularly as I used to.”

“I been in the hospital some,” she said. “It’s getting harder to come and go. I ain’t as young as I used to be. Now, I just come and go when I want to. Sometimes it gets too hot or too cold. Sometimes I run out of peanuts.”

Last Saturday, that was just the case when “this nice, nice man came by with some watermelons.”

“He said, ‘Aldean, I sold all these watermelons I’m going to today. You want these that’s left?’ I said, ‘Golly, yea.’ He said, ‘Well, I’ll just give ‘em to ya.’

“Let me tell you what, I sold those things quicker than I could breathe,” she said. “That was a good day for me.”

Aldean Brooks stands under her umbrella as the rain pours at her usual peanut-selling venue -- the vacant lot across from the Gitty-Up-N-Go at the corner of Prestwood Bridge Road and the Bypass. | Stephanie Nelson/Star-News