Two Sisters at the Market

Sep 12, 2021

 Every Saturday from May to October I stand behind my table at the Kingston Farmer’s Market. Some days offer more book sales than others and I am always happy for the sales. Making my table is the goal and I have always been able to do that. But so much more than the total books sales each week provides, is the gift of the people I meet. Each Saturday I see neighbors, friends and family. I usually get a hug from Alida and Elinor, have a nice chat with Jim, touch base with my sister in law Louisa, wave to folks walking by, glimpse people out in the courtyard and meet lots of new people. I usually sell a few books to those who come by to get the latest or maybe buy a gift for someone. I meet lots of new readers. Yesterday I had a woman and her husband come by who have bought books from the start , one book in particular having a family connection for her. A character in The Sewing Basket was based on her aunt and yesterday she told me of that aunt’s passing. I have dedicated readers who wait for each new book. I have readers that come back after reading one book to get more. Always there are meaningful interactions that make the early morning worthwhile. Yesterday among all the others it was meeting two sisters, Alison and Julie. I noticed them at the jewelry table next to me. Attractive ,vibrant women enjoying their time together. A brief stop at my table can go  several ways; polite acknowledgement, a nod or greeting, ” Are you Susan White?” gets asked a lot, pickups , some back reading , a question or two. Sometimes the person states some familiarity with my work; they heard an interview or saw my books somewhere. Maybe they have read a book or two. Sometimes students stop and say they remember having read or being  read one of my books in school. Lots of interactions take place in the five hours I stand behind my table. But sometimes those interactions are deep and meaningful , the discussion and sharing is profound and generous. Sometimes tears well up or fall and connection is made. The amazing thing is that every Saturday I am given at least one of those interactions. Alison bought The Year Mrs. Montague Cried after a short, meaningful conversation. She left the  dining room and her sister stayed behind and we continued talking. I will not even attempt to detail the ground that conversation covered except to say it was raw and real and touched us both. Two strangers let their guard down and shared a bit of the sorrow , the joy and the wisdom life has dished up. Julie bought The Year Mrs. Montague Cried even though she could have borrowed it from her sister. But of course it is not the book sale that mattered to me. On this quiet Sunday morning as I absorb and process the day ,sitting  quietly with my inner voice I recall the minutes two sisters and an author were given. This happened because I showed up and they stopped and we spoke and listened to one another going further than a polite hello , allowing another person to see what lies behind the face we present as we move through this world. It is moments like those that will bring me back next Saturday and keep me at the keyboard. 



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