The View From My Windshield: Peanut Lady

Delta, Alabama—Blame it on the vegetarians. “My daughter, when she was two, refused to eat meat, but she looooved boiled [pronounced “bold“] peanuts,” explains Wilma Alexander, aka “the Peanut Lady.” “So we started to give her peanuts to get her more protein.”

Not long after that, Wilma started hawking her wares at flea markets, then moved on to  a tent and a pickup truck. Her big break came after she recovered from knee replacement surgery, when a state agency gave her a grant to help build the operation. “They said ‘you have a client base and everything,'” she says with a touch of pride.

Last spring, when she lost her her job at a gas station, she turned the stand into a full-time gig. She does a brisk business, considering that she’s parked on the grass off to the side of an otherwise empty stretch of state highway 431, in an otherwise empty stretch of eastern Alabama.

So what’s the secret to the perfect peanut? Wilma doesn’t hesitate: “My method of cooking.”

“We had a bold [boiled] peanut man a mile up the road and he didn’t hurt our business one bit.” And then she lets me in on a secret: “His niece used to come on all the way over here to have our peanuts. She said her uncle just didn’t cook them right.”
 

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.