When I hear his voice I get this fluttery feeling in the back of my throat. He has a deep voice, and a round sweetness about it, like he was raised by someone who took the time to make him French toast with real maple syrup. Once, while we were packing up at the end of market day, his hand brushed against mine. He didn’t pull back like my hand was a hot oven, instead he just apologized with that sweet and deep voice. And my stomach started doing flip-flops.
A thousands little things have to go exactly right in order for my Dad to say it’s O.K. for us to work the farmers market. The electric line to the house can’t quit or else my alarm won’t ring. The gas station with the cheap gas has to open at 4:30 — that’s a.m. And A number one — a fine looking crop of flowers and herbs in the spring and enough tomatoes, radishes and squash in the fall have to be ready to go in order to balance out the expense and “headache” (as my Dad calls it) of traveling to the city and back again.
We used to do berries too but Dad says they’re too labor intensive. I love blueberries. I love picking them. But I’m not an ideal picker. There’s a trick to knowing when you should empty the berries into a collection tin. It’s just like how they explain it in “Blueberries for Sal”. The little bear following little Sal up the mountain, grabbing handfuls of Sal’s picked blueberries as they fell PLONK PLONK into the can. When I was little and my Mama was still alive, she used to read that book to me again and again. Could be that’s why I loved picking them. Then last spring my Dad announced we were no longer in the berry business and plowed half the plants under. I suppose when I picked them too many dribbled out of my hands. I could feel that happening.
My sister knows I have a thing for this guy with the sweet deep voice. So before we pull into our assigned parking spot, she checks my lipstick line. My hands shake a bit. I suppose it’s nerves. I know it’s crazy. He probably has a fine wife and three kids all with sweet voices just like him. Once, after lunch and before the evening rush, on a Tuesday afternoon, we talked about music. He likes rap and hip-hop which are not the same thing he told me. I love High School Musical. He couldn’t get over that and laughed. His laugh didn’t sound like a mean laugh, more like a “you’re killing me” chuckle. I traded some daffodils for his organic lamb. My Dad said the lamb tasted mighty clean but that it was too expensive so I couldn’t trade with him anymore.
That’s kind of sad, because now I’m thinking how all those people that buy his lamb and goat cheese are suckers. My sister told me his hair is red. People always do that, they tell me the color of things as if that’s supposed to mean something to me.
Sometimes it does. Like red is the feeling of the plastic tablecloth frying and cracking in the noonday sun.
And blue is the pond at the base of the sloping field that cools my hand after it’s touched the red tablecloth.