So, last week I walked around the venue a couple of times after I got my little table of pottery garden tiles set up. With all the vendors, and only the entrance door remaining open it was surprising how quickly the place warmed up. Within 45 minutes it was cheerful, bustling and noisy with talk, business transactions and the bright ribbon of Celtic music unreeling in the background.
Now I came to the market to sell – not to buy. I live on a farm just north of Eugene and produce and home canned goods are always available to me. Thank you just the same. Since I sell stoneware tiles at the Eugene Saturday Market, Easter through Christmas, I felt like the Corvallis Indoor Winter Market was like taking the show on the road until we were ready to head back to Broadway and the Big Time, and I wasn’t there to buy.
But I hadn’t eaten yet. And I happened to be set up across the aisle from a bakery booth that seemed to specialize in patisserie goods and artisan breads. They sell things like Bourbon Bars, Apricot Fruit Gems in Puff Pastries (I had to swallow hard here to stop drooling) and Chocolate Grenache Tortes. My booth partner saw my face on her way out to parking the car. “Buy soon,” she said under her breath, noticing my eyes glazing over as I stared at the Apple turnover; “most days they sell out early.”
I hesitated, thoughts of budgets and resolve and such like fading under the moist, jeweled glories lining the glass case in front of me. In what seemed like a hypnotic trance I bought a Bourbon Bar and a huge Lemon Shortbread Sandwich cookie, and I only snapped out of it when I noticed customer activity over at booth. Vaguely ashamed of my easy suggestibility I stashed the cookie in my book bag and got on with work.
I forgot my little treasure until late that afternoon when I had picked up my car at the booth partners and was driving home. I had to stop at a train crossing, and bored; I reached into the book bag on the passenger seat and pulled out the paper bag holding the Lemon Shortbread cookie. I unwrapped, I bit, I munched—My eyes almost exploded. Oh god, oh god, oh my gawd. The fresh lemon! The real butter! The superfine sugar the cookie had been coated in before baking, for an extra touch of crisp sweetness—These people were to my previous experience with bakers what the Justice League of America was to everyday keepers of law and order. These were Heroes, and baking cookies was one of their superpowers.
For the first time in memory I was grateful to be there parked in front of one of those slow, lumbering freight trains. In the frosty early-gathering winter dark, I marveled at each fresh bite of that luscious cookie. I finished it just before the caboose sailed by, filled by then with so much lemony warmth I glowed – I believe I could’ve made it home without bothering with headlights.
That cookie cost three dollars. I already have one covered in this week’s budget.
Dan is one of the new vendors how is sharing a booth space with one of our long-time vendors. He is a graphic artist who has been a vendor at the Saturday Market for over 30 years and has been making ceramics garden tiles for over 20 years that are so durable that they will be around longer then we are. Dan has one of those minds that can express himself at the drop of a hat.