Unanchored Thoughts

Bits and pieces of musings about family, friends, social issues, and whatever else travels through my head without a purpose.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Anonymity at the market

On Saturday Graeme and I ventured down to the Alexandria Farmer's Market - the one at City Hall. I've never been to this particular market and it was a beautiful day, so we decided to go on a little adventure. I favor farmer's markets, in general. Having grown up on a large vegetable garden, veggies with dirt on them are comforting. And, I like the idea of buying locally, though I question the definition of local when I visit a market in March and there is "fresh" corn for sale. We aren't frequent farmer's market visitors, mainly because I forget, or get lazy, or lack cash. On this particular visit I think I was looking for something a little more than a fresh tomato (though I did find one). You see, every year when I visit my father in upstate New York we go to the village farmer's market. I don't particularly need fresh fruit, or a croqueted tissue box cover, or a hand carved bird's nest on each visit, but I do need the community. Without fail I run into Mr. Bunn, my high school prom date's father; or Mrs. Smith, my 4th grade best friend's mom; or Mrs. Dunshee, my high school physics teacher. I'm always with my father, so these people don't just walk by, which they might otherwise do because my hair is now 6 inches shorter, I wear glasses, and on the last visit I was carrying a 3 month old baby. Not exactly the picture of my high school days. But, in the familiar presence of my dad they stop, stare for a minute, and then give me a big bear hug and we discuss what I've been doing for the past 18 years. Though, of course, most of them already know because my dad loves to talk. And, I get to hear what their kids, friends from my formative years, are doing.

In this big, expansive world we live in it gives me great comfort to know that I can always go back to the Farmer's Market in Hamilton, NY and feel like I belong. So, as Graeme and I ventured out to the Alexandria Market on Saturday I realized I was looking for more than dirty vegetables. It was a bit of a lonely feeling, until a woman I know from a mom's group I was part of (and still am, though we don't get together weekly anymore) wandered over and we chatted while Graeme and Grace played. My sense of community in Hamilton (Earlville, really) didn't just happen over night, I'm sure. It's just that it became part of my bones over the years and I lived there for 18 years. However, I wonder if I'll ever feel at home in the Greater DC Metro Area.


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