Wednesday, October 5, 2016
Gourds, Goodness, and the Kindness of Strangers
By Micky Wolf
A few days ago my beloved and I made a visit to one of our favorite farm markets in the area. Nothing quite like fresh, crunchy new season apples. Or large, smooth, portabella mushrooms for a stuffing of seasoned diced tomatoes and panko bread crumbs.
Entering the last aisle, I noticed a small display of colorful, ornamental gourds. Picking up one of the mesh bags, it only took a moment to realize they were somewhat dinged and spotted. I reached for another bag. Same. It was obvious the few remaining items were the worse for wear. Nonetheless, I chose one and put it in our cart.
Placing our items on the counter, the cashier tapped away, her helper sorting and bagging our purchases.
“These gourds…the ones you have in the bag…” The short, gray-haired bagger smiled. Her manner was quiet, almost shy, yet warm and friendly.
“Yes?” I asked, as she held the bag toward me.
“Did you see the huge display outside the front of the store? They’re from a local farmer.” She paused, then continued. “There’s quite a variety of shapes and colors…very nice…and they cost a lot less, too.”
“No, we didn’t see the display. We came in the other door.”
She smiled her shy smile again. “Go. Take a look.”
“But I don’t want to hold up the line,” I replied.
“Ah—don’t worry about it. Nobody behind you—and if someone does show up, I’ll just open the next checkout.”
With that, I took off, making a beeline for the display about fifteen feet from the end of the counter.
And there, the huge crate filled with about every size, shape, and color of ornamental gourd known to man—and the Great Gardner of Creation.
In less than a minute I had nine of them in a bag, handing them to the cashier to be added to the total amount.
“Thank you so much,” I said, looking at the helper.
“Nice, aren’t they.” She winked, smiling her shy smile.
Indeed. And I wasn’t thinking about the gourds.