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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

To Market or not to Market?, That is the Question......

Typical Grower's Market conveyance :-)

My heavens, it's been weeks since I've written.  Writing is a mysterious thing-----when the fit is on me, there's no stopping it.  When it's not, there's no use trying to dredge it up.  People have asked me recently about that, and I'm finding that, for better or worse, that's how it is for me.

Last time we met, it was before I had started to toy with the idea of returning to Grower's Market-----and yes, it's still a twinkle in my eye.  But a dim one, at present.  First I called long time Market Manager Marti Fate, sounding her out about the idea.  It's been over a year, after all.  She had to tell me that, at present, our old spot is occupied, the market is full to bursting with vendors, and even if she could find me another spot, the ones with electricity are limited.  Aaaargh.  That's the deal-breaker for me.  No electricity would mean no toasted bagels with cream cheese.  I can't face it.  Hard enough to go without Stu, and with less products and a smaller stand----but no toasted bagels??  Not an option.  For me, the ceremony of plastering a fresh toasted bagel (that I made with my own two hands)  with cream cheese,  while I hear the latest news from the customer waiting for it, is the main reason for even being there.  The laughter, the updates, the prayerful moments.  Still, Marti was hopeful that there would be an opening in July, and urged me to contact her at the beginning of that month.  I confessed that I hadn't even visited the market since last year, because I was afraid I'd break down and cry.  She replied, in her distinctive Tennessee drawl "I'm sure of it, and other people with you!"  Marti always did have a way of hitting the nail on the head.

I have learned to push through discouraging news to the other end-----a risk, since there are times when the other end also appears discouraging.  Ha!  But still, armed with this conviction that it's better to move into the hard stuff than to run, I plucked up my courage, clamped my old Grower's Market baseball hat on my head for fortification, and decided to wade into the Saturday morning  extravaganza that is Grower's Market in Grants Pass: the colors, the smells, the faces, the wares.  As a visitor instead of a vendor, I had to adjust to the change in perspective.  For one thing, I had to find a parking place!  I have heard customers grumble about this challenge for years----the cheerful ones simply see it as an opportunity to take a morning walk.  That's how I looked at it----part of the morning adventure.   I decided to make it really weird for myself by starting at the opposite corner of the market from our old spot.  I was sneaking in.  Wow....I never noticed that food truck before......come to think of it, I hardly ever made it to this end of the market.  Too busy in my own little corner.   "Who ARE these people?"  I found myself wondering as I passed  space after space of unfamiliar vendors.   "Where are all my favorite customers?"   Maybe it was just a funny time of day, but I saw only a few familiar faces in the crowd, and only a handful of vendors that had been comrades during all the years we worked the Market.

As I rounded the corner that brought me face-to-face with our old spot, I had the sensation that people must have when they visit their old neighborhood and find the corner store turned into a parking lot, or their old house torn down and replaced by.....a newer house.  "It's not the same" something in us wails......and it's not.  Life happens.  Circumstances change.  A life event can knock your world upside the head.  Funny thing, as I wove through the crowd, I spotted a customer I hadn't seen for a couple of years.  She hadn't heard about Stu's stroke, and I hadn't heard about her husband's death.  We looked into each others' eyes with deep and wordless compassion.  Veterans.  It was good to see her.  It helped me put things in context.  I liked the way we didn't have to explain to each other-----we are at once more sorrowful and richer for the experience of our lives.  Infinitely richer.

As I slipped away, ready to move on with my day, I found myself on the other side of the discouragement.  And it was quiet, and not very dramatic.  No tears necessary.   I have everything of importance I need, I realized, even if I don't have my old spot :-)  And if I return to the Market, the old skills will take a new turn, and we will all enjoy how that looks.  I found myself once again profoundly grateful for the way God shapes and molds my life.  Speaking of which, I'll tell y'all about the Writer's Group that has come into my life next time.  And I should have a full report about Stu's condition after his seizure last Monday.  (Short answer, he seems fine.  Waiting on test results.)   Stay tuned, and thanks for reading!

1 comment:

  1. Writers' group? This sounds good. You are such a gifted writer, and what you have to say is such a gift to the reader. I look forward to hearing more!