I’d heard about the Coventry Farmer’s Market here and there over the years but never managed to make it up for a visit. Then a couple of weekends ago I got a notice that my favorite cupcake truck was going to be at the market the same day we were going to be visiting the eldest at college in the same corner of the state. How could we not go?
Visiting Cassie at school is always a double-edged sword. We all miss her terribly and it’s difficult to only see her occasionally and for summers. New era of life and major changes and all. It’s great when we arrive but both Sofie and I get rather melancholy when it’s time to leave her there. I’m also a wee bit jealous that she gets to go away to school and hole up in her room and do nothing but learn and study and figure out who she wants to be. But I’m so very thankful that she gets this opportunity that just wasn’t in my reach.
Yes, I went to college. First in my family to get an undergraduate degree let alone a Master’s. But my experience of college started several years after the traditional age so I always felt like an oddity on campus. College also involved having to live somewhere I really didn’t want to be in order to afford it and working as many hours as I could squeeze in around my classes. I didn’t have time to do extracurricular activities that might have drawn me into campus life. It was almost impossible to keep up with my friends, most of whom were not in school and therefore had very different schedules and lives.
I don’t remember sleeping much those four years.
At the end of every semester I would be sick for at least a week. My body worn out and this was its own special way of telling me to slow down, at least for a moment.
My focus was always on scraping together enough to pay the bills and buy my books, always looking ahead to the next semester so I could graduate as quickly as possible, move out and get on with my life. It was a very rushed experience. No time to dawdle and reflect or question the nature of the universe and my role in it.
Then there’s my life experiences in the years before college. By Cassie’s age I’d already had two alcohol induced blackouts and dabbled with other sorts of illicit substances. My high school sweetheart died in an unfortunate accident (“Free Spirit Dies in the Night” is the newspaper headline burned into my memory) while we were on the outs. Never going to be able to make amends. After graduating high school I’d been kicked out of my natal home. “Find alternate living arrangements” were the specific words used. My heart had been broken numerous times and I was living with a bad boy who had more psychological issues then I did. That’s saying something considering the steamer trunks I was lugging around.
She hasn’t experienced any of that.
Her life has had its share of sorrows and difficulties but hopefully the joys outweigh them. If nothing else, she knows she has a family who loves her beyond all reason and that we’re all here in whatever way she needs us. I wish I had the same, especially at her age.
She’s doing good in school. She’s happy with her life and plans for the future, which are well thought out and have her on the path to a decent, useful life. One down and two more to successfully launch but they too are on a good trajectory. This has not been a given in my experience, both personally and for those around me.
Life is rather fraught with all sorts of pitfalls and traps, some self-induced and some just from what life tends to randomly throw around like monkeys in a cage flinging poo. At least I’ve been able to help my three avoid stepping in the biggest piles and getting sucked down into the morass.
What more could I ask for?
By market day we hadn’t seen Cassie since we’d dropped her off at college. She was thrilled to get off campus and we were happy to see her and hear about the new semester. We took a Sunday drive on a beautiful autumn day through the country to the fair. Even went down Pleasant Valley at one point which amused me to no end. We had a delicious lunch, wandered among the vendors, had some of the best cannoli I’ve ever been lucky enough to eat and Cassie found some yarn to add to her stash like a squirrel getting ready for winter.
We tuckered each other out in the most wonderful way running around that day. We don’t get to do that often. As I said in my MacDowell application, time and money are equally tight. For once we didn’t have to worry.
We were together.
We had fun.
It was a beautiful day.
Can you ever have too much of that?
We got kettle corn at the fair. I’d never had it before but the very smart vendor had samples out and after one taste you’re hooked. I’ve discovered caramel corn in the past year or so and plan on making a batch as soon as the humidity levels drop low enough. I loved Screaming Yellow Zonkers as a teenager. Ate so many that I had a line of empty boxes pinned to the wall in my bedroom, like a hunter displaying pelts, in a strip that went from floor to ceiling.
All very different variations on the theme of salty, crunchy, sweet. Each has their own merits.
Sy and I are working our way through the first season of S.H.I.E.L.D. and noshing on the remnants of the kettle corn. Another long day of work but it was a good day of getting lots of stuff done and hopefully more of the same tomorrow. It’s days like these that remind me of how much I love what I do for a living.
There’s a chill in the air to remind us of the upcoming season. I love that crispy tang so much.
I’ve decided that popcorn is a good snack for summer and caramel corn is for winter. Zebra caramel corn is for blizzards and special occasions. We now have kettle corn for the seasonal transitions.
Every time I eat it I’ll remember the day we went to market.