It is a punch line I am happy to be part of. The Shelburne farmers market.
It is sunny like all of the markets of my memory. This can’t be true to the calendar, more our choice of days to attend, but here it is. Golden and green and grassy. Full of toddlers dragging around under caffeinated moms, kids in soccer t shirts and your choice of local lamb.
The berry farm doesn’t yet have berries and are selling some sort of potted plant. They are the only stand to have any plastic. I imagine the other vendors shunning them.
There is farmer Dave, who let my boys push his wheelbarrow before they could really reach its handles. Today he stands in front of his weathered wood boxes filled with greens. He is grey and lined from the sun and the years. He greets us and I hurry past…looking for Chaga chai which seems to have disappeared for 2014.
It was many many years ago that I burst through my neighbor’s door in tears. I was searching for my friend and very surprised to find farmer Dave. This was before they were married, before they lived together and he held me as I wept. He wrapped in his blanket, and me in my shame.
I still feel an echo and don’t offer him quite the greeting that our history suggests. I blame it on the kid, who flurries past me in search of cheddar cheese, I pantomime a bit of a tug and a rush, but I am just pretending. I could chat a bit while Leo looks after himself, the only risk that he would leave zero cubes of 2 year cheddar for others to sample.
But I don’t. There will be no vendor at whichever farmers market that I go to I Denver that has helped me fall apart and come together again when I was in my twenties.
After cheese leo and I have burned through our allotted $20 so we head to the edge of the market. We are in the green banana phase of moving. We will not be chefs again in Vermont so we left our basket at home. We will eat our brunches standing with friends. We find them near the crepes. (Famously grown in the fields of Vermont)
Leo disappears into the enormous stand of white pines. He sees several classmates on branches and clambers up to join them. Oliver shakes his head slowly. It was just last summer that he has fallen from these trees. From 12 feet up he hit his chin and fell to the ground onto his back.
His friend calls out: “Ollie, come here, these are the absolute best climbing trees in the world.”
“I don’t think so.” Oliver answers. He settles to the ground to eat his crepe, but not before I have prompted him to stick out his tongue to his friends father. The dad gives an appropriately demonstrative response to the snaking white line where he bit through it during the fall.
In a few minutes we gather each other, we have no farmers market haul to pack into the car. The boys are chattering excitedly about the afternoon. I am picturing Oliver’s tongue sticking out from his little freckled face. I picture the scar and remember the scare, and the mark the market has left on us.