Boiled peanuts draw crowd to Main Street

Published 5:00 am Monday, October 2, 2000

Every day that brings favorable weather also brings a pot of hotboiled peanuts to Main Street in Brookhaven where Rufus Hayes setsup a stand outside his house.

“I put peanuts out when it’s not rainy, and if it’s too cold, Isit in the door of my house and watch for people,” he said.

Hayes has been boiling and selling peanuts for the last twoyears, but boiled peanuts are nothing new to him.

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“I’ve been doing this ever since peanuts started,” joked Hayes,adding that he loves the taste of boiled peanuts.

He has discovered that selling peanuts has been a great way tomeet fellow Brookhaven residents.

Many residents offer a honk or a wave as their cars pass by hisstand, and Hayes always returns any greeting with a wave.

“It keeps my arm in good shape,” said Hayes. “I see a lot ofpeople I know and some I don’t, but I always wave back.”

Between waving at people along Main Street and greeting hiscustomers, Hayes checks on his peanuts, which are boiled one to twotimes a day in a mixture of salt and water.

Hayes’ peanut stand brings a lot of business, so he stays busyfrom about 9 a.m. until dark. He averages selling about 100 bags aday, but he sees that as slow. Hayes said he had even morecustomers last year due to the construction of the overhead bridgein Industrial Park.

“It was real busy on this street because they had the bridgeclosed and traffic was rerouted this way,” he said.

Hayes, 82, began boiling and selling peanuts as a way to makesome extra money to pay for medications. He believes his low pricesattract more people to his stand, which allows him to make betterprofits.

“I sell them real cheap, just a dollar a bag,” he said about thepeanuts he gets from Lowe’s Peanut Farm in Lawrence County.

Hayes, a lifelong Lincoln County resident, also sells sweetpotatoes from Louisiana at his stand, but his main attraction isthe peanuts.

The smell of the salty goods wafting along the street is whatHayes says catches the attention of some. Others see his largeboiler and curiously stop to see what’s cooking, said Hayes.

He hopes the smells and sights continue to bring in enoughcrowds to keep him busy during his retirement. He is retired fromthe oil business with 30 years experience.

Although he misses his former job, his new endeavor has turnedout to be a fun way to make a little money and meet more people inBrookhaven.