On the first Saturday of every month, I make my usual trek to our local arts and craft market where I have my usual stall next to the vendor who sells, in my humble opinion, the best cream pastries I have ever eaten.
While we are setting up our stalls at around 5am in the morning, it’s a tradition now that Ronnie, who owns the stall, will come around and give me a big hug and have a bag of my favorite pastries still hot from the oven ready for me. She is such a sweet lady with a warm heart.
I’ve been selling at these markets for over 5 years now and it’s become one of the highlights of my month. I spend about 10-15 hours a week in my spare time, making and designing decorative knots in all types of colors and designs. I have to thank my mother for teaching me, and one of my earliest and happiest childhood memories is her teaching me how to make them and the fun we used to have.
The reason I started selling at the markets was just to make a little extra money for the family doing something I liked doing. But what I found interesting is that over time, it became less about the money and more about the people who I would regularly see while I was there.
I mean, it’s great when you have tourists passing through and they always seem to appreciate the artistry and design that go into my products, which I’ve been doing for over 20 years now. And sometimes, I will have people come up to my stall and say that their friend or cousin just couldn’t stop talking about this amazing little market vendor who sold these amazing little knots.
What is really special though are the regulars who you see and the great relationships you develop over time. Take Debbie, who as far back as I can remember has been at every market day without fail. She is one of those people who will always stop by, have a chat, spread or share a little local gossip, have a joke about what’s going on and then move on. She is always good for a laugh and lots of fun.
What’s also interesting about Debbie is that she seems to change jobs often. Only 2 months ago, she mentioned that she was looking into some sort of medical assistant career. And as someone who worked in a hardware shop for most of her adult life, I thought this was a bit strange. She just said that she really liked the idea of helping people and working in the health field which was always something she was interested in.
Like Debbie, another one of the regulars at the market is Josephine, who has her own secretarial service. She always has these interesting stories to tell and we’ve always gotten along really well. Last month, while she was coming from the flower vendor she popped in to say hello, and we got onto a subject about a person she was helping to find a job.
She saw an online ad someone had posted with the title, resume for nursing assistant. Since she had a lot of experience in resume writing, she applied for the job and got it the next day. That night she got a phone call from her client that needed the resume, but right at the end of the phone call, the client asked if she would accept payment in the form of fruit and vegetables as she had no money. Josephine told me that her initial reaction was to tell her that forget it, but thought why not and agreed.
So after spending the better part of a Saturday doing the resume, the next day she got a knock at the door and their was Barry, our local courier with 10 boxes of different kinds of fruits and vegetables. More than enough food to feed her family for a month. Not a bad result she thought. And since we are good friends, she brought a bag of the sweetest apples I can remember eating because her family just couldn’t eat them all.
It’s amazing the fun people you can meet at the market.