While traveling in California, I'd read that Joe Ades (Ah-dess) — the white-haired man with the British accent who sold his $5 vegetable peeler near the Union Square Greenmarket — had died two weeks ago at the age of 75. So I was surprised to hear his pitch again on Saturday, in a similar accent but a woman's voice, as I shuffled in the two-way foot traffic past the construction zone on the west side of the park.
Eventually I maneuvered close enough to see the woman, peeler in one hand and carrot in the other, and ask, "Any relation?" "I'm his daughter," she replied. Ruth Ades-Laurent worked with her father for many years, according to her brother David Ades, who added that she shares their father's "tenacity" as well as the requisite enthusiasm and lack of self-consciousness about talking out loud in public.
"Some parents leave their kids buildings; my dad left me peelers," Ms. Ades-Laurent called out at one point, as if to punctuate for passersby why she'd spend her Saturday crouched in front of a construction footing. Indeed, at last week's outdoor memorial, she reportedly told the crowd that she'd inherited 40 cartons and that she'd "practice with a bucketful of potatoes" before returning to "carry on the legacy." Her father was often referred to as the "Gentleman Peeler"; you don't suppose we can call her "Mrs. Peel," do you?