Norman Rockwell

On Saturday we were up earlier than usual (thanks, RR) and found ourselves wondering how to spend the morning. Usually we go to a music class and the park but, as fun as this is, I sometimes miss mornings spent wandering through the farmer’s market and coming home with a loaf of bread, a pint of strawberries and a bag of kale. We CAN of course, but we don’t. It’s crowded and smothering by the time we arrive at 10 and we aren’t ever out of the house in time to visit in the empty, early hours. Although RR doesn’t ride in an aisle-clogging stroller*, we still move pretty slowly. I just can’t bring myself to contribute to the congestion. Instead, we go to a music class less than a block away from the place that makes me feel 24 again, sun-kissed, in a sundress, my only responsibility a date that night.

Don’t worry, I married her.

So on Saturday, facing freedom for the first time in awhile, we found ourselves at a loss. With no errands to do and too much rain to work in the yard or go to the park, we were left staring at each other. In fact, RR would happily sit around engaging her crayons, grapes and toy lions in complex conversations. And while I’m happy to let her, that was on tap for the afternoon. So what would I do on a perfect morning that isn’t the farmer’s market? Turns out, what I’d do is pop RR into her bike seat and ride with her and my wife to the library, just a couple of miles away on neighborhood streets. Since it looked like rain,we stuck the books to return into plastic bags and set off. By the time we got to the top of our street (and I do mean top – the hardest part of a ride anywhere is getting up the Everest-esque hill), sporadic sprinkles had turned to rain and it remained persistant until we arrived.

I LIKE to be anywhere in the rain. I don’t mind getting soaked through. D prefers an umbrella. Something about glasses and raindrops. I’m happy to find out that RR doesn’t mind weather much either. Any query about her comfort level (we had her raincoat with us but not on her), was met with delighted shrieks: “go mama, yet’s catch mama!” and “I am going so fast!” and “mama would YOVE this!” (mama is right behind us baby, but yes, she does love this). We arrived wet but not at all miserable.

Our library is small and comfortable. The children’s section is as large as the adult section and is incredibly welcoming. RR noticed a dinosaur book on a tiny table and crawled right up on the chair to read. “This is just perfect, mama. Deeyiteful!” She played with wooden puzzles while I looked for new Madeline books and some old standards, including Where the Wild Things Are. I find Wild Things sad and a little scary although my sisters both loved the story (along with, apparently, the rest of the universe). I thought I’d give it another try. It must be good, RR didn’t even demand an encore reading of Madeline when I finished.

As were were leaving we ran into friends from the community. I’ve never lived anywhere else where this happens so consistently and, while it means I don’t honk at the cars who I think so justly deserve it, it does make me endlessly happy. We rode home in warm sunshine just in time for lunch. It could not have been a better morning. July marks our 5th anniversary here. It’s mornings like this that ensure we’ll be here for the 10th.

*There is some sort of space time continuum that ensure all strollers at this particular market take up three times their actual dimensions and move six times more slowly than actual speed.

3 Responses

  1. We call that ‘life in a small town’. It’s one of the things we love about it too. Although there are times when my daughter wishes we could go somewhere and not run into someone we know, esp if I just so happen to run up to Barracks for milk for my coffee first thing in the morning in my pj’s. I assure her, at this point, everyone in town knows I don’t get dressed until at least 9 am.

    You are so right about the strollers.

  2. There are some parallel lives going on over here in our big town/not quite small city. Lovely.

  3. Oh, god. The strollers. Should you find yourselves at early morning loose ends again, my house is a nice place for coffee. I am back from the market by 8 and I have goat’s milk.

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