I was thinking of you this morning.
I had to leave the house a little earlier than usual. My daughter left on her Big Field Trip today. Her entire Grade 8 class is going to Ottawa, in a giant purple coach. (Lucky!) I had to dig her out of bed at 5:30am. She usually sleeps until 8, runs around getting dressed and stuffing toast in her mouth while throwing her lunch together. She's not a morning person, but she's never grumpy. Just a little out of it. Like me. This morning she kept saying, "I don't think I've ever gotten up this early!"
"Sure you have. We used to do horse shows when you were little."
"Yeah, but you got up early. You were already gone when I got up. We went to church with Daddy and met you at the show later."
In a perfect world, I'd sleep til 8 every morning, but my life ain't like that. I'm up at 6 feeding the obnoxious funny curly tailed Pug critter and the very old dignified demanding Cat critter. I go back to bed. Sometimes I sleep, sometimes I read, mostly I listen to the radio through Jethro's snoring while I wait for Bucky to wake up. But I'm always awake around 6 am.
In my childhood, I wasn't required to do chores before school. I often chose to go out to the barn on weekends. I have memories of eating breakfast in a haze and following Dad out to the barn with heavy feet. I never was much good in the morning. My ol man's admitted now that he really doesn't like getting up early either; he just had to, so he did.
Sometimes all four of us went to the stockyards to sell some pigs. We had to get up really early, like 5 am. I have vague impressions of mist all over the road, but it could have been only behind my eyes. The stockyards were a crazy place. Lots of oinking and squeaking, mooing and whinnying, stomping and fivegimmefive anybodygottafive fivetwenny Fivetwennytwennytwenny fivetwennyfive. So many smells, both good and bad. When I was about twelve I was trying out my budding fashion sense. I had newish jeans. Hand me downs, of course, but new to me. They were dark blue! I wore them with my rubber cowboy boots (what, you think we could afford leather?) and my seersucker plaid blazer. Whoa. Dig me. I probably went to bed the night before with my hair in tiny braids so it would look crimped when I combed it out. I was really into that.
My sister and I were allowed to go off looking at the vendor's booths. I was so sure everybody was looking at me and admiring my daring outfit. Then I started to feel kinda stupid when I realized that a large percentage of people there were old order Mennonite or Amish and couldn't give a rat's backside as to what I was wearing.
A big lady with towering yellow hair set up a booth in summer to sell her colourful plastic jewelry. She was wearing one of those one piece strapless velour shorts jumpsuit type outfits. Very early 80s disco hangover. She had to keep tugging the top up. The velour-wrapped elastic was either displaying her white line or chafing the peeling skin off her tan. She matched her lipstick to the hot pink outfit. Fascinating. I never saw no nothin like that! What to look at -- the table full of plastic or the magnificent oddball selling it? Somebody walked past muttering about junk jewelry. "It's not junk," she sniffed haughtily as she pulled at her top, "it's beautiful." I bought two pairs of big go-go-girl hoopy earrings (my hard earned and agonized-over two bucks) and she called me "dear."
At noon, we'd go get burgers with fried onions on them.
When we were little kids, Sweetie and I would go for the occasional weekend at Grandma and Grandpa G's house. It took me decades to figure out that we weren't going there purely for our own entertainment... that maybe Mom and Dad actually had a social life. Huh. Weird. Anyways, my Grandpa G, like most retired Mennonite farmers, didn't go idle. Sure he liked to watch a little Wonder Woman or Looney Toons before his Sunday couch snooze, but he spent a lot of time in his cellar workshop with plywood and a jigsaw. He made wonderful garden ornaments with legs that spun around. Daffy Duck, of course, was one of my favourites. He made planters held up by horse silhouettes. On Saturdays, they loaded them into the trunk of the Dodge Dart to sell them at the craft market across from the stockyards.
Sweetie and I got to "help" sell stuff. I wonder if Grandpa made any more sales with us two little brown eyed girls there.
I remember him in his straw hat, white short sleeved shirt, and black suspenders holding up his black work pants. He was an amputee by then and got around on his fake feet with the help of two canes with four rubber grabbers at the bottom. He could be slowed down but not stopped. Grandma was pleasantly plump, with soft white hair and a smile that lit up an entire building.
I think I yawned a lot. Grandma woke me very gently on those mornings. I don't ever remember the drive to the market.
I had these memories, standing on the sidewalk at the school at 6:30 this morning. Man, my Girl's had a soft life! She snapped to it pretty quick today, buzzing with excitement. It never really occurred to me that early mornings haven't really been part of her life. Lots of people are up working already at that time every day!
Like, people who are vendors at markets.
I got an email a while back from a very interesting fellow. He's a farmer, a writer of great sensitivity, a dog person, a boot wearing tractor driving kind of guy, who sells his work at the Boston Flower Market. He found my blog through another that he reads regularly.
To my amazement, it turns out that I have readers in Boston. I have never been to Boston. Maybe I should some day.
At times I think about these readers who grow things and sell them. I don't know much about them! I think they read this stuff of mine during slow times at work. They have a few chuckles when I try to make a funny, and even cheer me on when I'm down. At the end of a long dark winter, I got some flowers emailed to me. Big yellow ones. They were on my desktop for awhile, my big virtual yellow petals of cheeriness. Awwwww!
Hello Flower Marketers! Thank you!!!!! You kind of make my day, even though I don't know you in person. Now go home for a nap, you've probably been up since 4 am.
(anybody wanna say hi to the flower vendors? Leave your greeting in the comments section!)