Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Mr. Okra

The old ways rarely die around here. More often, they transmute into something new and different and odd and pleasing. Case in point, Mr. Okra:

Old timers talk of the produce carts that were daily sights (and sounds) in many neighborhoods back in the day — hand-pushed carts ladened with fruits and vegetables, whose vendors each sang a distinctive song announcing their wares to the residents, who would come out and buy what they needed.

The hand-pushed carts are gone, but today Mr. Okra continues his own version of the tradition, working through residential neighborhoods in his brightly painted truck, singing his inventory over a megaphone:

Mr. Okra sings his wares

His song is always entertaining but not always comprehensible. (You'll hear June in the background speculating that Mr. Okra is Spanish, an incorrect hypothesis but an understandable one, given the decidedly exotic nature of his cadence and articulation). A transcription, to the best of my ability:
I have oranges and bananas.
I have [???].
I have carrots.
I have pineapples, and I have [???].
I have satsumas.
I have mangoes.
He's got a whole lot of his own thing going on. That's for sure.


  1. We love Mr. Okra! I imagine he also has some okra (somewhere in the song). What about the phrase Be Nice Or Leave! Thanks for the heads-up on Pixlr vs Picnik. Will check it out but wanted to stop by here first. Johnnny

  2. Love this! I think I want a poster of his truck to hang in my office "Be nice or Leave".

  3. Anonymous8:25 PM

    In the olden days they used to call not "I have" but "I got . . ."

    I can hear the vendor now: "Ah got ba-NAAAAAH-nus! Ah got WAAAAAAAA-tuh-mel-un!"

  4. Anonymous8:29 PM

    P. S. Mr. Okra's truch is really beautiful! What is that picture of on the side of it? I wonder who did it all. Really gifted.

  5. Did you take this photo? I'd love to feature on my Instagram (CarStyleLA) but I don't want to use anybody's photo without permission. Happy to tag this website as the source, if you're OK with the re-use. If not, no worries. Just thought I'd ask.