This season at the farmers market I have been a part time vendor. What that means is that I request to come to the market on the weekends that I can and if there are any open spots--mainly because the full-time vendors can't make it-- then I get to setup my tent.
What that also means for me is that I actually get to know a lot more people than I did last year.
Oh, I still see Cathy the honey lady and Kent the picture guy--our neighbors from last season. But I see them on the fly, before the market opens when I (or they) have a spare moment to stroll on by.
Kent is retired and is a phenomenal photographer whose favorite Saturday treat is a handful of peanuts in his glass bottle of Coke. He and I still do our morning conversational routine:
Kent: Hey! What're you selling today?
Me: Oh, you know, Kent... Sunshine. Happiness.
And he laughs.
I call greetings to the salsa guy, a man who Dan and I have dubbed "Bad Santa" for his talent with a dirty joke.
Susie, the peach lady, is as sweet as the day is long, with a right wicked sense of humor that can slice someone clean in two.
The market. It's a world unto itself. And while the market is primarily made up (and made for) the shoppers, there is an entirely different world available only to the vendors. It is one of camaraderie. Behind the scenes jokes:
"I'm just waiting for all those people who said they were going to come back..."
"Hey," I like to tell my neighbors, "...no worries, they're going to swing by on the way out..." A wink, a smile. A bit of a good natured eye roll.
For the first part of the summer I was located in the corner spot belonging to another peach vendor. Sadly for him he was flooded in, but luckily for him it wasn't peach season then anyway. Lucky for ME it was by the brick oven pizza place and right by the musicians on the corner. This location also threw a gorgeous slash of sunlight across the products which people couldn't help be charmed by.
Next to me, in this spot was a man whose wife made bows and aprons and do-dads. Every Saturday we would chat about farming and orgones. He--who had fought for this country in both the Vietnam and Korean Wars was a peace loving farmer who loved nothing more than to coax life from a seed and watch it flourish. He believed sincerely in the bounty of the universe and the beauty of simple living. He had travelled this world and found faith in God, nature and in the reality of energy, life forces, tolerance, and beauty. In fact, I show my own short-sightedness when I say I assumed upon meeting him that he would be close-minded and in the end it was me who found myself to be the one who jumped to conclusions.
The peach vendor has since reclaimed his spot. A down to the roots farmer, he is. A market vendor t-shirt. Overalls. Mesh camo hat. Long, grizzly, white beard. He hauls his peaches off his pick up truck and the people can't get enough of the particular magic of his fruit. Smiles aren't free to him, though he looks kind enough.
Last Saturday, my war veteran came strolling down to my new spot between Bad Santa and the Meyers Produce people. He saw me and told my neighbor, Charlies (Mr. Meyer), "There is an aura of good energy that surrounds this one. She's the greatest neighbor to have!"
"And good for business too!" Agreed my newest friends. "People just stand here and talk to her all day!"
I explained to my newest neighbor, "I used to be down by him until the peach farmer got back in town and I got kicked out of the neighborhood."
My well travelled veteran friend looked at my new neighbors. The only thing to betray the joke on the tip of his tongue, was moving his toothpick from one side of his mouth to the other.
"We sure do miss our orgone girl down there," he said, "...the only good thing about the peach vendor being back is that he's so much better looking."