Sunday, September 20, 2009

Blown Away

“The wind is my friend.” “The wind is my friend,” the man next to me was chanting. We were squished together like sardines, along with many other vendors, inside a big permanent tent set up at an outdoor art show. His whole display had just crashed to the ground.
The day had not started well. Everyone had set up their displays early that morning amid cloudy skies and howling wind. But then miraculously, the wind died down and the sun came out. It was beautiful. So we all sat back and waited for the show to open, the customers to come and business to be good.
And then I noticed something. My handmade bags began to twist ever so slightly on their hangers. My canopy gave a slight shiver. And I thought to myself, in despair, “It’s coming back…” In the blink of an eye, it was back, growing in force like a runaway train. And before I had time to go to plan B or even come up with plan A…BAM! Over went my display rack and off like kites flew my bags. It was a horrible moment! Some kindly people-I don’t know who they were-the moment is a blur, helped me set back up. For a little while I was good, and then BAM! This time I think something rather unladylike slipped out as I expressed my frustration. When the rack fell over, my daughter Amy caught it with her sweet little head! I was in a state of panic. What was I going to do? The show still had a good 4 hours to go.
After that, everyone was in distress. Paintings, jewelry and everything in between were set aloft. This is when many of us were ushered into the big tent, normally reserved just for a few artists. It really didn’t matter. The wind kept finding its mark. I heard vendors say over and over to potential customers “Well, I had a nice display set up, but you see, the wind came up…” As for me, I sat quietly in a daze, the wind having deafened me and left me speechless hours earlier. My once neatly hung bags, arranged carefully by style and color, were in a shambles, and my racks were anchored to my table with a tangled maze of ropes. All that I really cared about at that point was that my bags were all still there. (I didn’t count them-I probably should have.)
The day rapidly deteriorated -the wind blew harder and harder and it got cold. Soon people even stopped looking around to see whose stuff had taken the latest hit. The only thing that mattered was how fast we could all pack up and go home.
So what can I say about the wind yesterday, now that the show is over? That after being battered by it for hours I finally know what it’s like to have straight hair. And that I need to learn some new vocabulary words to express myself in times of crisis. And that when it’s all said and done, Mother Nature is still in control, and that oddly enough, I find comforting.
(Thanks to my daughter Amy for the "before" picture.)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Bitter and the Sweet

The end of summer has come and it’s quiet around the house today. My daughter Amy started back to school (8th grade!), and I miss having her around. Besides being mother and daughter, we are the best of friends too. I truly love her company and we do lots of things together. Last night there was a flurry of activity as she prepared for today-she retrieved her back pack from the closet where it had been hidden away since last June. She filled her new binder with all the usual and necessary school supplies-pencils, pens, paper. She picked out her first day of school outfit (all new clothes, of course!) And while I baked cookies for her lunch, she watched a favorite old movie-taking her mind off the inevitability of today a little longer.
But the end of summer is good too. This is the time of year that I take a few green tomatoes from the garden and make mincemeat-that classic blend of green tomatoes, apples, raisins, sugar, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg (I don’t put any meat in mine.) After hours of cooking, this mixture is reduced to a dark, sweet, spicy concoction that I put up in jars and then put away for the upcoming holidays. To me, no Thanksgiving or Christmas would seem complete without a mincemeat pie-it’s as much a tradition as roast turkey or a Christmas tree.
Amy may be back in school now, and she won’t have as much free time as she does in the summer-but one thing won’t change. When it comes time to make mincemeat, my favorite helper will be by my side.