Day Six, Saturday
Farmer’s Markets intrigued her. She had been to one, once, years ago, on a vacation. She didn’t remember for sure where it had been, but she had a clear picture in her mind of white canvas covers, tables spread with bright red strawberries, crisp looking lettuce, peas and beans with drops of water on them, orange carrots with feathery green tops, piles of squash and pumpkins. Must have been fall, then, too. Jars of honey reflected the sunlight. Buckets of fresh cut flowers, mostly purples and yellows decorated one stand. Where would that have been? She couldn’t think. Tom and Eli had been beside her, she did remember that. Shane, in the stroller. That would make it twenty years ago? Seemed like forever.
A poster she saw at the grocery store announced a Farmer’s Market Saturday mornings at the old town center. She could walk there. She grabbed her canvas shopping bag and hat from the hook, and locked the door behind her.
Across the street, the minivan was pulling out of the driveway. The mom waved to her as they drove away. I do need to learn her name, Morgan thought.
In half an hour, she approached the Farmer’s Market. The street was closed off for two blocks, the tent coverings and awnings set up along both sides. People milled, talking, browsing, carrying their own bags. Some had dogs on leashes, some pushed strollers, one gal pulled a wagon piled with bags of fruit and vegetables, two toddlers almost buried underneath. One of them pulled a couple of strawberries out of a bag, handed one to the other, they both giggled, red juice dibbled down their chins.
Strawberries. She picked a container of big, bright red berries. Morgan ran her fingers along the carrots, bunched with yellow string. A carrot salad, with raisins and sliced almonds. That would be good. She bought one bunch. It all looked so good. She could imagine crock-pot stews made with the squashes, big mounds of salad, her wooden bowl piled with fruit. Be reasonable, she told herself, it is just me, not a crowd.
At one end, several of the booths had handmade items. She saw a stack of books, piled in an arc, each one turned a little more than the other to fan them out. The covers were sewn from a flowered fabric, stiffened, the pages between the covers raw edged and rough. She picked one of them up. Blank pages, empty. She fingered the paper, textured and knubby. What would you do with a book like this, she wondered? The printed sign next to the stack said, “Journals. $8.00.”
“Have you ever kept a journal?” asked the gal behind the table.
“No, I haven’t,” answered Morgan.
“I think you should try it, you might be surprised how much you enjoy it,” she said.
“What do you write about? I am not a writer.”
“I do mine every morning, a couple of pages. I write a little about what happened, but not just a diary. A journal is more about how you feel about something, what you are thinking about, what you want to happen, the impressions you have from a day. Not for anyone else to see or read, just for you.”
That’s good, thought Morgan. I don’t have anyone to show it to anyway. She said, “I might try it. They are beautiful books. I’m not sure I would be brave enough to mess it up with my writing.”
“Don’t be silly. I make the paper and sew the covers so people will write in them. Mess it up all you want. Draw in it. Paste magazine pictures in it. Copy quotes. It’s yours to do what you want in it. I like to buy pens of different colors. Every time I change topic, or want to emphasize some words, I use a different color. Makes the book look pretty as I thumb through it. Makes me feel artistic.”
“I like that idea. Thank you. I’ll buy this one, with the reddish geranium leaves.” She paid her, and tucked the book in to her bag.
Flowers. She wanted to buy a bouquet of flowers. One had to buy flowers at a Farmer’s Market. Wasn’t that a rule? The aroma of fresh baked bread came from the next booth. Artisan breads. Beautiful to look at. Amazing to smell. She bought a small loaf, cinnamon and raisin. The flower booth had sunflowers, exactly what she wanted. The grocery store didn’t have any last Wednesday. She bought a bunch, knowing how bright they would look on the table.
Enough. She shouldn’t buy any more. The displays were tempting, though. A fresh, crisp bunch of spinach, tied with string. Oh, one more thing. Perfect for salads this week.
A quiet walk home. She put the flowers in the white ceramic vase, set in the middle of the table. Now, the kitchen didn’t feel so empty.