It was such a balm to return to the farmers market yesterday as it's been weeks since I've been, missed Sundays which in aggregate have felt like an eternity. I was happy, no, relieved!, to see more of the usual suspects back in action; winter is really and truly gone! On one corner of one of the main entrances, a small table was bedecked with a few strands of baubles, some rings and some stringed lockets. I didn't give it much thought on our way in -I'm there for the food- but midway through our shopping, Oliver asked if we could go back to the table of pretty things; he had spied a necklace and had to investigate it further.
As we pulled up, he immediately reached for a delicate, rectangular, silver box hung from a slim, woven orange rope and started pleading for it. To be honest, I ignored his goings-on because A) I had no intention of buying him the necklace (not because it was a necklace but because he doesn't need more stuff), and B) my eye was caught by a gorgeous strand of jade beads. I tried it on, talked to the sister of the seller and ultimately decided that the color wasn't right for me.
In the meantime, Ol had fallen headlong into love with this necklace, and the woman overseeing the wares told us she'd bought it from an old man in the Old Town in Pakistan, near her home. It was real silver, the end of the box could be opened gently to insert a prayer or message and then folded shut, and it could be Ol's for $10. Intrigued by the idea of a silver box that could store secret messages, Jack started asking questions.
"You would probably like this," the woman said, handing J a small silver trinket that resembled a hard cover book. He turned it over in his fingers and found that the bottom -what looked to be the bottom "pages"- slid open to reveal a tiny, secret hollow in which an even tinier treasure could be safely kept. Apparently, this also came from the old man in the Old Town, and it could be Jack's for $18.
Naturally, Oliver then needed one of these silver books but, naturally, this was the last one. "I had it first," Jack said, fairly kindly, "and I will pay for this with my own money because I REALLY WANT IT." Oliver burst into tears, such copious, dramatic tears that the woman started to fret and said, "If you will have your mom write down her email, I will buy another one in Pakistan next month, bring it back and email your mom when it's here."
This woman's sister meanwhile was being told that this stall was illegal because they had no permit to sell and was, concurrently, telling me that more boys than girls all morning had been besotted by these silver necklaces and curios, as if I may be "concerned." I wasn't, but she was sweet to let me know.
Oliver gave a last gasp cry, begged me to "wite down my email" and started eyeing the necklace again. The woman, still fretting, told him she would give him 50% off and so for $5, he could wear this necklace home. Ol looked up at me with pleading, hound dog eyes, and I had to take a knee and have a talk.
"Boys, you are welcome to spend your own money on these items, but I am not going to pay for them."
"Oh, Mom, we will TOTALLY pay you back as soon as we get home! I promise! I pwomise!"
I handed over $23, clasped the necklace around Ol's neck, watched as Jack proudly enfolded the book box in his hand, and we ambled back to the car.
I haven't the slightest idea if the old man in the Old Town is real, but I will tell you that the kids paid me back as soon as we got home and Ol wore the necklace to Jack's baseball game and through until bedtime. He even wrote me a special note which he hid in the box and then delivered to me. Jack waxed rhapsodically about how his book box reminded him of a text Harry Potter would use at Hogwart's and because of that it was so special and he would keep it in his special book end which looks like a stack of books, each of which is actually a small drawer.
Seriously, you never know what will strike your kids' fancies. Doesn't Ol look like a secondary color fanatic (he had on bright green shorts) crossed with a young Flavor Flav?