Tag Archives: farmers’ market

Good Things #17

No Ted Talks this week. Just some not-so-related Good Things.

Music. You know a song is good when it makes you nostalgic for something you never had. That’s how I feel when I listen to “Ashokan Farewell,” like I miss deeply my Appalachian home. I found out that it was actually written in 1982, even though it sounds like it’s straight out of the Civil War. (PBS miniseries, anyone?) I listened to this on repeat while I graded Latin tests – there’s nothing like grammar terms to make good music necessary.

Who vs. Whom. Yes, this is one of the good things. I’ve been explaining the difference for about a week now to various levels of Latiners. I’ve watched their eyes glaze over and their cheeks drain of all blood and I’ve fielded their desperate pleas for a bathroom break. Do you know the difference between who and whom? I can honestly admit that I didn’t…until I took my first Latin class as a sophomore and learned about the Accusative Case and Direct Objects and All Other Things Grammatical. Now I can use “whom” with aplomb, but who would choose to?

lavender

Lavender spray. What is that, you ask? My mom bought me this amazing lavender spray from an herbalist at the Farmers’ Market and it’s amazing. Wait, did I already say that? I spray it on my pillow every night and it’s so soothing. I wish my muscles could soak it up.

ruminate

Taking risks. I wrote a poem my senior year of college. I remember sitting on my bed, not sure if I should write it, not sure if it was worth anything. It had been a moment – the summer before when I was twenty-one and freaking out about graduating – and I didn’t (and still don’t) trust my ability to recognize moments for what they are. But I wrote it anyway. I sat on it for a year and a half. I pulled it out again, brought it to writers’ group, deleted and added and shifted and shaped. I called it “Almost Family”, submitted it to a poetry contest at Ruminate, and it placed in the top seventeen. It was published in the September issue and there is my name in black and white print. There is the moment in writing that I didn’t trust and almost forgot. My first paid piece of writing. Now how to spend that twelve dollars…

Enjoy your Wednesday!

Good Things #13: Blackberries and Wine

We were walking home from a wine tasting. It was around 6:30 – half an hour past the time they closed – and the sun was still bright. There they were, dangling in greenness along the road, little deep purple berries.

Who cares about poison ivy?

We filled our plastic containers to the top (I filled mine a little over the top and they spilled, rolling along the pavement), and ran back to the house to get more. The berries were everywhere and I couldn’t believe they were untouched. How many children had walked by without venturing into the patch? How many parents had scolded the children who would have?

By the time we were done, we had roughly six quarts, and refrigerators aren’t made for holding so many.

What do you do with six quarts of blackberries at 10:30 at night?

You concoct ways to sell them the next morning at the farmers’ market.

It wasn’t until I stood in the sunlight Sunday morning, the berries proudly displayed in handmade paper-plate-and-staple-pints, that I saw the scratches all over my body. Arms and legs pink and scraped; the thorns had hurt while I was picking, but I’d hoped nothing would come of them. Here I was at the market, looking a lot more like I did when I was seven and eight, little bruises and scrapes on my summer-time calves.

This is the dichotomy of my life right now: I went to a fancy wine tasting and tried five different reds, and then scrambled through blackberry bushes like a child, gleeful at our find, slipping and nearly falling down the steep ditch along the side of the road.

I was still wearing the Ann Taylor Loft dress I’d worn to the tasting. It got caught in the thorns and is probably worse for the wear.

The Good Thing for this day? Feeling okay with switching roles in a matter of seconds.

I am a teacher.

I do midnight runs to the 24-hour McDonald’s.

I sing at weddings.

I dance like a crazy person during the reception.

I long for my own home where I can share my homegrown food and love.

I can’t imagine being anywhere than where I am right now.

I smile and sell honey to strangers.

I trip and drop a box filled with jars, the honey oozing through the bricks, the glass shimmering in the sun.

[He gave the rest of the blackberries to the vendor next to us. Her eyes lit up with joy as I watched from my car. My sister and I finished ours in a blackberry-peach sangria. I’ll probably go back in a day or two because jam is delicious and the idea of them rotting off the stems haunts me.]

Good Things Whenever #12

My Good Things Mondays have been tossed about by 1) my lack of planning and attention, 2) my lack of time, and 3) that’s pretty much it.

Not that there has been a shortage of good things lately. One might say that I’ve been discovering more and more good things with these last few weeks. These kids are hilarious (a little anecdote: a thirteen-year-old boy in my class loves sausage, so every time I ask for a noun, he shouts out, “Sausages!” and I die laughing.)

Even though I’ve been teaching and living at school, I’ve still been able to go to the farmers’ market on the weekends. We even tried out a new market Saturday – our name’s getting out there.

Among the new things I’ve discovered:

This is my new favorite musician. It was one of those moments – you know what I’m talking about. You put a cd in your car radio, a cd a friend claimed to love and then lent you, making you a little nervous about both your response to said music and if his taste in music will cause you to avoid the topic all together in the future. But you pop it in, and the first chord – the first sound of his voice in your car – reminds you of the most beautiful reasons we create.

We write because we are confused, and confusion gets worked out through pen and paper and sharing.

We make music because it is the thrum of life. Because it is in so many ways a universal language. Because I truly believe God has a special place for notes strung together and shaped into stories.

And when redemption is longed for, the beginning of redemption has begun.

I have one day of teaching left, and one day with these students I am only beginning to know and understand. I will never see them again. They will be strewn across the globe and I am only one woman in a small town in Massachusetts. But I know that every time they hear “English only!”, every time they listen to Adele’s “Someone Like You” and the Beatles’ “When I’m 64” and Joan Baez’s rendition of “Boots of Spanish Leather,” they will think of Miss Hawkins.

[Lyrics to James Vincent McMorrow’s song]

“We Don’t Eat”

If this is redemption, why do I bother at all?

There’s nothing to mention, and nothing has changed

Still I’d rather be working for something, than praying for the rain

So I wander on, until someone else is saved

 

I moved to the coast, under a mountain

Swam in the ocean, slept on my own

At dawn I would watch the sun cut ribbons through the bay

I’d remember all the things my mother wrote

 

That we don’t eat until your father’s at the table

We don’t drink until the devil’s turned to dust

Never once has any man I’ve met been able to love

So if I were you, I’d have a little trust

 

Two thousand years, I’ve been in that water

Two thousand years, sunk like a stone

Desperately reaching for nets

That the fishermen have thrown

Trying to find, a little bit of hope

 

Me, I was holding all of my secrets soft and hid

Pages were folded, then there was nothing at all

So if in the future I might need myself a savior

I’ll remember what was written on that wall

 

That we don’t eat until your father’s at the table

We don’t drink until the devil’s turned to dust

Never once has any man I’ve met been able to love

So if I were you, I’d have a little trust

 

Am I an honest man and true?

Have I been good to you at all?

Oh I’m so tired of playing these games

We’d just be running down

The same old lines, the same old stories of

Breathless trains and worn down glories

Houses burning, worlds that turn on their own

 

So we don’t eat until your father’s at the table

We don’t drink until the devil’s turned to dust

Never once has any man I’ve met been able to love

So if I were you my friend, I’d learn to have just a little bit of trust

Welcome Back to the Farm!

It isn’t a stretch to say that my hometown is small. Very small. Not the smallest, but close to it.

The farmers’ market started up again, and it’s like going back in time. Everyone knows everyone, and if you don’t, you pick up on it really fast. The coordinator is funny – he walks from table to table, chatting it up, and one question can get him going for twenty minutes. I thought had the gift of gab.

I wouldn’t say we make a killing at this farmers’ market. Dad’s not quitting his day job and neither am I. But this stuff is right up my alley. I hear such interesting stories from all different kinds of people. The old man next to me farms and sells clams. Yes, apparently one can do this. I learned about infusing honey with vanilla and lavender and cinnamon last week from the certified herbalist (yes, apparently one can be a certified herbalist, as well). I can’t wait to try it; can you imagine a little vanilla honey in your tea? Or cinnamon honey on your toast? I smell another blogpost brewing.

So that’s what I’ve been doing with my weekends. It’s not a bad way to live. Spreading love through sweetness and bee talk.