Tag Archives: farmers market

Jokes

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The Man and I were selling our wares at a farmers market in a small Arizona town. Sells were off to a slow start, and I was trying to remain optimistic.

An older gentleman approached our table. He was probably in his 60s. He wore his grey hair and beard cut short. His clothes were specifically designed for active outdoor athletic activities.

The Man and I wished the potential customer a good morning. He returned our greeting and said he had a joke for us.

Ok, I said with mild apprehension. This exchange could go several ways, some of them more offensive than others.

Beige Wooden Watch House Near Ocean

Why didn’t the lifeguard rescue the hippie? the older gentleman asked us.

I don’t know, I said, and The Man shrugged. Neither of us had heard this one before.

Because he was  too far out, man, the amateur comedian told us.

I burst out laughing. The Man chuckled too. The joke really tickled me.

That’s a good one, I giggled.

I have another one, the fellow told us. I guess our positive response gave him courage and confidence to continue with the jokes.

Why did the cowboy get a dachshund?

Selective Focus Photography of Dachshund

The Man shrugged again, and I shook my head. We didn’t know the answer.

He heard the other cowboys talking about getting a long little doggie.

The Man and I groaned a little. This joke wasn’t nearly as good as the one about the hippie and the lifeguard.

Ok! I have one for you! I told the jokester.

Oh good! he responded. He seemed genuinely pleased that I had a joke to share.

What’s the pirate’s favorite letter? I asked.

Oh! I know this one! he said, seeming even more pleased. You would think it’s the R (arrrrr, he pronounced it in best pirate fashion), but his heart really belongs to the C. (Get it? The C! The sea! Get it?)

Front View of a Camel at the Desert Area

Ok! Ok! I said. I’d gotten really excited by this joke exchange. I have another one for you! What do you call a camel with two humps?

Now the jokester looked perplexed. A dromedary? he ventured. (He was double wrong. A dromedary has one hump. The Bactrian camel is the creature with two humps, but that wasn’t the answer to my riddle.)

Pregnant! I burst out, then laughed at my own joke.

The jokester gave me a strange look. Perhaps camel gestation was taking things too far.

A little tiny kid told me that one, I explained, remembering the four tiny comedians who’d waylaid me with jokes in the national forest parking lot where I worked.

The jokester did not seem to be amused by my juvenile humor, and he

Brown Cattle on Open Field

wandered away. I was disappointed he left before I could dazzle him with my favorite, a knock-knock joke about an interrupting cow.

Images courtesy of https://www.pexels.com/photo/beige-wooden-watch-house-near-ocean-861018/, https://www.pexels.com/photo/selective-focus-photography-of-dachshund-688694/, https://www.pexels.com/photo/front-view-of-a-camel-at-the-desert-area-998639/, and https://www.pexels.com/photo/nature-animal-agriculture-cow-36347/.

Love for a Son

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On Valentine’s Day, it’s easy to focus on romantic love and forget about all the other kinds of love that live in the human heart: love for siblings, love for children, love for friends, love for animals, love for parents, love for caregivers, love for students, love for teachers. On this Valentine’s Day, I want to remind you of these other loves and share a story about one woman’s love for her son.

The farmers market was almost over. Some of the less patient vendors were already packing. I’m an until the bitter end kind of gal, so I hadn’t put away a single item I wanted to sell.

Two women walked up to my table. They seemed to be Native Americans, probably from the local tribe if I had to guess. They appeared to be in their late 50s and were maybe sisters or maybe cousins or maybe close friends. In any case, there was an easy companionship between them.

We were about a month from Valentine’s Day, so I showed them, as I’d shown everyone who’d approached my table that day, the stone hearts cut from labradorite, rose quartz, agate, and carnelian that I had for sale. I also pointed out my new septarian concretions and the Arkansas quartz points I’d picked up earlier in the week. The women discussed the stones, slipping seamlessly from English to their native language, then back again.

Heart Stones

The woman to my left had long, dark, curly hair, and she wore glasses. She picked up a septarian nodule and it slipped from her hand and fell onto the concrete sidewalk. She couldn’t apologize enough.

Septarian Nodules

Don’t worry about it, I told her. That rock is a million years old.* It’s been through a lot. 

Her companion giggled at my joke, but I could tell the woman who’d dropped the stone was mortified. Of course, I prefer my merchandise not to hit concrete, but there was no sense being mad at someone who’d had an accident. I know the woman had no intention of being disrespectful towards me or my stones.

The woman with curly hair returned the septarian nodule to the bowl with the others of its kind and began sorting through the heart stones. Her companion had wandered to the next table before the woman with the curly hair found the perfect heart stone, a red agate.

My son died six years ago, she told me. I stopped what I was doing and looked into her eyes.

Oh, I’m sorry, I murmured. I never know what to say to people when they confess their heartbreak.

He loved loved loved rocks, she said with a big smile. I’m going to leave this on his grave, she explained, showing me the heart stone in the palm of her hand.

I miss him, she said quietly. I love him so much.

I’m sure he loved you too, I told her. Loves, I corrected myself. I’m sure he still loves you.

He does, she said with absolute confidence. He tells me he loves me. He tells me he’s ok. He tells me he’s happy. 

The woman paid for the heart stone and caught up with her friend who had moved on down the row of vendors.

I enjoy selling stones that make people happy. I like selling Arkansas quartz points to kids who look at the clusters as if they were diamonds. I like selling septarian concretions to people who enjoy the way they feel in the hand. I like selling ammonite pairs to folks who give them as meaningful gifts and kyanite pieces to jewelers who use them to create pieces of wearable art. Most of all, I like selling stones to people who share their pain and joys with me and let me know they’ll use the stones to maintain a heart connection with the people they love.

*According to BestCrystals.com, septarian nodules were actually


formed between 50 to 70 million years ago…

so that stone was more than a single million years old.

I took the photos in this post.

Still Breathing

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For two months I sold my jewelry and shiny rocks (and my book and the hats I made and my Rubber Tramp Artist stickers) at a farmers market in a small southern Arizona town. The market was held on Saturday mornings, from 9 am until noon. Minimal produce was sold there, but vendors offered bread and sweets made from scratch; jellies and jams produced locally and in small batches; hand-made soaps, lotions, and balms; and more craft items than you could shake a stick at.

Most of the people who visited the market wear elderly, although plenty of those folks were healthy and in good shape. A few children came through with their parents and grandparents, and teenagers were seldom sighted.

There wasn’t much money in the town, and many days I earned my dollars one bracelet at a time. I was grateful for every little sale that helped me get by, and I often looked at my sales in terms of $2 sacks of ice.

I saw many of the same people several times over the two months I sold there. I think some people saw the market as their weekly social event. Some folks stopped and looked at my wares every time they were there (perhaps wondering if I’d gotten anything new) and others bypassed me after the first time they determined I had nothing of interest to them.

I saw one man a handful of times at the market during those two months. He was an older man with grizzled stubble on his unshaven face. He wore a ball cap advertising his status as a Vietnam era veteran and worn work clothes. What made me remember him wasn’t how he looked. What made me remember him was the same joke he told me every time I saw him.

Good morning, I”d say when he walked up to my tables. How are you today?

I’m good, he’d say enthusiastically. I woke up breathing this morning! At my age, that’s a good thing!

At that point I’d say something positive like Oh! That’s great!

I tell my wife, he’d always continued, “Honey, no matter how much I love you, if I wake up and I’m not breathing, get as far away from me as possible.” That would be enough to put anyone in a bad mood. Then he’d laugh at his own joke, and I’d laugh too, mostly just to be polite.

I never saw him with a woman, and I never asked him where his wife was on any given morning. If she was dead and he wanted to pretend she was still alive, that was ok with me. I wasn’t going to force him to admit anything to me.

I wonder if he made the same joke to every vendor or if from one visit to the next he forgot he had used it on me already. He never bought anything from me. After he made his joke, he moved on.

He seemed like a nice man. I was always glad to see he was still breathing.

How Much Are These?

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I was selling at a farmers’ market in an urban shopping center.  Two older women (both in their late 60s or maybe early 70s) stopped at my table. Both had nice hair and were well dressed. The taller one was wearing upper middle class casual clothes (not exercise clothes and not beach clothes, but not fancy working-in-an-office clothes either). The second woman was dressed like money too, but her clothes had a younger, more flamboyant style. Her top was colorful and seemed vaguely East Indian.

The woman with the more flamboyant style went right for my skull bracelets. She quickly found a bracelet with a small skull on it made from purple and blue variegated hemp. She wanted to try it on, so I fastened it onto her wrist and she seemed to like it. I told her all bracelets were $6 each or two for $10.

She continued to look through the skull bracelets. Several times she found one with colors she liked, only to say disappointedly, Oh, but this one doesn’t have a skull. After she said that a few times, I said, Yes ma’am, that one has a skull too. She tried to explain what she meant, and I think she was saying that the carving of the features on some of the skull faces was not as deep as on others. I wonder now if maybe she had eye problems and was having a difficult time seeing the features on some of beads.

About that time she asked, How much are these? I wasn’t surprised by the question. Many times people don’t hear me give the price or forget pretty quickly. I just told her again, $6 each or two for $10.

She wanted to buy skull bracelets for friends, and I was trying to help her find exactly what she wanted. So-and-so likes pink, so the customer wanted pink hemp, but the skull bead had to be the right size (small), and she was still saying that some of them weren’t skulls, when actually, they were. I was trying to stay patient and upbeat, but honestly, the woman was starting to freak me out.

Then she looked at me with total sincerity and asked me, How much are these? as if we had never had a conversation about price. She didn’t say, Tell me again how much these are? She didn’t say, I’ve already forgotten the price; tell me again how much these are. She said, How much are these? as if she had never said it before.

I was really flustered. I briefly wondered if maybe I were losing my mind. But I remained calm and told her again, $6 each or two for $10.

All the while, her friend was telling her how great the bracelet looked on her, how the bracelet was really her. I got the strong feeling that the woman shopping for bracelets was (or had been) the wild one of the two.

Finally the woman had picked out three skull bracelets for gifts and still had one on her wrist. With her decisions finalized, she said to me, I guess you want $20. The price had finally sunk in!

Because of her age, I had been feeling sorry for her, thinking she was suffering from Alzheimer’s. When I got back to my host family’s place and told the story to the Lady of the House, it occurred to me that the woman was acting quite a bit like she was stoned. Had those two women been off somewhere smoking a doobie?

So I formulated a story about the bracelet woman. In my story, the woman has glaucoma, not Alzheimer’s, which is why she can’t see that some of skulls are actually skulls. Because she has glaucoma, she smokes medical marijuana. I’d much prefer for her to be high and not suffering from dementia.

Skull braceltes

These are the type of skull bracelets the woman liked. I took this (slightly blurry, sorry) photo of bracelets I made with skull beads on them.

To read about other customers, go here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/02/05/we-feel-for-your-situation/, here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/02/10/red-letter-day-2/, here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/09/26/turtle-ass/, here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/12/09/selling-hemp-again/, here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/11/12/hard-times-on-the-highway/, and here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/12/14/mean-daddy/