2005-09-07 � bumpkin

Blue Jean Baby, LA Lady...
for Liz who reminded me who I am again with thanks

I've been all about the mopey and the soul sick-ed-ness. I know. And the sludge of Katrina still resides within me, but I managed to bury it a little deeper today. Because I had to. Because being overcome by an avalanche of sludge and mud and despair isn't the way I want to go. Nope.

So after walking my dog, I put on a flirty skirt and went to the local farmer's market. There is something about the farmer's market that makes me feel grounded, connected, safe. I like to peer into the faces behind the tables, look at their hard worn hands and sunburned necks and imagine what their farms look like. I like to imagine that their kitchen tables are covered with red checked oil cloth with a fiestaware pitcher of sunflowers seated squarely in the center next to one of those paper napkin holder things, the ones with the crowing roosters or dancing ears of corn on them, and that all their clocks are analog and tick comfortingly and loudly. I like to imagine that there is a nasty tempered goat that regularly breaks into the pantry despite all efforts to keep him out. I like to imagine his name is Gruff and that there is a barn full of baby animals who never grow up and get sent to market and that everyone shouts goodnight from their bedrooms, ticking down the family tree just like they did on The Waltons. I've convinced myself that country living is just like that, but I don't dare question anyone too hard about it, just in case it isn't actually.

I bought flowers (lisanthis and ballet shoe pink roses and some others), I bought a homemade zucchini and cheddar quiche for dinner, I bought a cherry pie, all old fashioned looking and country fair-ish with its charming latticed top almost too pretty to eat. I bought peaches and two gianormous beefsteak tomatoes and a great big yellow summer squash. I bought some of the sweetest strawberries I ever tasted. I ate three as I was standing there waiting to pay, the juice trickling down my chin and spotting my pink t-shirt.

I lingered over the table of the incredibly wrinkled lady with the smiling eyes who makes these incredibly tacky walnut dolls. I don't know who buys them... I've certainly never seen anyone purchase one. But she makes them by the bushel full and I kind of admire her optimism. She sells a couple of other things too, herbs and cactuses and branches of chinese lanterns and I always try to buy something from her... but there was nothing to buy today. I refuse to buy a walnut doll on the grounds it may just encourage her to grow more.

I strolled up and down the tented tables, feeling the sun on my skin, pleased to see signs of fall... roly poly pumpkins, indian corn, sunflowers, tables groaning under the weight of corn.

I drove home with the windows open and my stereo cranked. I listened to myself narrate a story, thinking about how maybe I should write myself a novel. I wondered how hard that would be... to write a novel. I decided the first thing that I would require is a plot, and as I currently have none, I set that particular imagining aside to make myself a toasted tomato sandwich and eat a peach while listening to Elton John's Tiny Dancer (which always makes me think of Almost Famous and because of that, always makes me smile) pump out my computer speakers and down the stairs. I wish I could report that it was the best tomato, the best peach I've ever eaten, but it wasn't. Still, they were pretty good. Good enough anyway. Good enough for now.

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