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Fruit vendor part of daily Manteca routine

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Fruit vendor part of daily Manteca routine

Domingo Gonzales sells fruit at Woodward Avenue and Union Road.

MONICA CANE/The Bulletin/

POSTED July 27, 2009 1:24 a.m.

Have you ever seen someone regularly without really knowing them and find yourself relying on their presence as part of your daily routine?  

Perhaps a crosswalk guard at your child’s school who waves you on when it’s your turn to go, or a friendly cashier who shares a funny joke every time you walk into the store?  Something about these positive people we don’t know but see regularly offers stability to our lives.  They’re usually completely unaware of how their presence affects us, we barely understand it ourselves, but nonetheless it does.

Take Domingo Gonzalez for example.   Other than his name, I know very little about him yet for the past 10 years I have consistently seen him in the same spot each week and every time I do, a sense of peace and stability comes over me because I know he’s there.  

Whenever I’m driving around town running errands, dropping off one child, picking up another, mailing letters, hitting the groceries store and so on, as soon as I reach the corner of Union Road and Woodward Avenue all I have to do is look to my right and there I’ll find Domingo and my hurried pace seems to slow down.   Usually the man is leaning casually against his truck, tucked under an umbrella for shade.   The back door of his truck is open and his truck-bed is filled with plentiful fruits for sale.   Whenever I see him, I realize he’s not in a rush, he’s just enjoying the moment, selling ripe plums, sweet cantaloupes, fresh strawberries, juicy mangoes, and oranges that he’s gathered from various local farms in order to sell to people like myself that drive by in a hurry.

In the fall, though despite the cold weather, Domingo is there with a truckload of pumpkins for trick-or-treaters and pumpkin eaters.  One year, when I was buying a ton of pumpkins for the kids I was coaching on my U-8 soccer team, Domingo not only gave me a great deal but offered to carry them to the car, packing them carefully into my trunk so none would fall or break open.   His only words were, “Here you go. Have a nice day” but they were so sincere, confirming why he is one of my regular people that I rely on seeing.  When the hot summer rolls around, Domingo is still there displaying huge watermelons along with whatever other fruit is in season.   

Whatever the weather, whatever the fruit, whatever the season Domingo is always there waiting with his truck, his fruit and a smile.  Although his words are few the consistency of his presence, not to mention his great prices, provide a unique comfort to my regular life routine.

If you happen to be driving by Union Road and Woodward Avenue look to your right. On most days you will find Domingo and who knows; maybe he will become part of your regular life routine too.

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