......finding a new home for lutefisk lovers.

(ok we don't love it. or even like it. but we're supposed to.)

13 November 2010

Reap What You Sow

There are some things you hear about a place and you hope they're true. You create an image in your mind and you hope it's not just something created for TV. But sometimes, we wander off the tourist path and stumble upon the less-charming reality. Driving in Ireland, Mike and I turned off the scenic route to increase our speed and I was like "This isn't Ireland.......it's Fridley." Everyplace has its strip malls and gas stations and apartment buildings, doesn't it?

But I'm happy to say that the picture above actually exists in my little New England town. A lovely little haven of color and goodness on a winding country road that I pass on my way home from virtually everywhere. Under the big umbrella each day were baskets of of plump red tomatoes, fat round squash and mason jars full of fresh cut flowers for $5.00. When we first arrived this summer, I was dying to buy flowers. How could you not buy flowers from someone who so clearly understands how flowers should be enjoyed? Cut fresh from a neighbor's garden and tightly packed into the simplest of jars to create a riot of color. But every time I drove by, the umbrella stand was unmanned. So initially, I take joy just from the sight of it.

But eventually, I pull over thinking I might have to ring the doorbell or something. And bless her trusting heart, I don't need to ring the doorbell because the farmer has a bucket full of money on the table. It's labeled "Honor System." And I pause to bask in the self-esteem boost I've just received; this farmer knows I'll do the right thing. And I pause again to appreciate how this person must believe that people are generally good by nature.

I put my five bucks in the bucket and choose my oh so charming jar of fresh flowers. Just then, the farmer appears from the backyard and, get this, she wants to make sure I don't overpay! She isn't pleased with the condition of the flowers that day so she knocks a dollar off the price. She peels the lid off the bucket and digs my money out of the collection and hands it back to me.

I was on my way to my car with my flowers.
Perfectly happy to pay full price.
But she stopped me.

So I ask her about her "Honor System" bucket. Does it work? Does she ever get cheated? And she answers proudly - not once has she been jilted. She's gotten a couple of notes that say "Don't have money today. Will pay tomorrow." And the next day, her bucket is always overpaid.......sometimes accompanied by more notes. Notes of gratitude or notes that include recipes for the previous night's dish.........a dish made with her produce.

It's the perfect example of reaping what you sow.

The umbrella stand recently closed for the season. The same way the Dairy Queen closes every year and shows us that warm days are behind us and it's time to get serious. But the umbrella stand gives me a toe hold; something to keep me from sliding backward into the occasional pity party. If I can make it through a winter here, I can look forward to a riot of color come springtime - just by dropping my five bucks into the "Honor System" bucket.

1 comment:

marf said...

our DQ's don't close for the season out here. how am i supposed to tell if it's winter?