The Ultimate Pepper Deal

Oct 22

The Ultimate Pepper Deal

Previously I mentioned my mom’s pepper-growing hobby and how it all but consumes her time from the months of July to October. She was supposed to come to Seattle for a visit the first week of November, but since the fall frost hasn’t come to Michigan yet, I got pepper-blocked again as Mom stays behind to tend to her crop before winter. Sigh.

So my brother John calls me up, and, as always, the conversation veers toward our little Asian mother. I told him that her stupid peppers prevented her from flying out for a visit, and he countered with yet another Mom gem. Apparently she’s been weirdly accessible lately despite her time-consuming hobby. He’s looking to buy a new car but the sale went through, leaving him and his family temporarily down one vehicle. Mom actually offered to make the 45 minute commute over to his house and take my youngest niece to school, then watch her when she got home. Quite a generous gesture for someone who’s supposedly busy nonstop with her peppers, right?

Later that week, John’s wife called him at work.

Lori: “Now I know why your mom’s been so helpful this week.”

John: “Why?”

Lori: “Because she wants you to drive her to Ohio so she can close on some pepper deal.”

John: “What?!”

Oh geez. My mom’s hot pepper empire has now crossed state lines. She’s coming for you in 2011, Indiana.

Later, John called my mom and they beat around the bush for a bit before she brought up the favor.

Mom: “…so! You drive me to Ohio to drop off peppers?”

John: “Let me get this straight. You sold a bunch of peppers to some Koreans in Ohio?”

Mom, happily: “Yup! Five hundred dollars!”

John: “…and you want me to drive you.”

Mom: “Yeah, you drive and I give you one hundred dollars!” She seems confident with her bribe.

John: “A hundred bucks? For eight hours of driving?”

Mom: “Yup!” Very matter-of-fact. To her, this is a pretty sweet offer.

John: “…that’s barely $12 an hour.”

Mom, pleased: “Yeah!” Clearly she thinks this is a hell of a deal.

John: “You do realize that I’m an assistant principal and make good money.”

Hrm, she didn’t think about the fact that her son isn’t a broke 19-year old looking to make a quick buck. How’s she going to save this?

Long pause.

Mom: “I buy you lunch too.”

Way to sweeten the deal, Mom.

After I laughed heartily, I asked my brother what he decided.

Me: “So what are you going to do? Are you going to drive her?”

John, begrudgingly: “Ugh, I dunno, I guess.”

That free lunch offer works every time. Her last big deal before the end of the season reminds me of a thief’s “one last sting” before he retires. I hope it doesn’t end in a shootout. Or maybe a group of rival Japanese farmers working undercover are going to bust her and invade on her turf. Either way, I can’t be the only one who finds it weird and hilarious that my tiny Korean mom is turning into a pepper lord. This isn’t what normal mothers do, right?


  1. Tell your brother to duck if they get stopped at any tollbooths. You wouldn’t want a Godfather reenactment.

  2. Sara Keogh /

    I’m starting to get curious about these peppers. I mean, if they are will to pay THAT MUCH . . .

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