Friday, March 13, 2009

A long cold drink of water.

I saw the freemarket for the first time today, I read about it but have never gone. It was amazing. I thought that I would be going to a run down church full of very, very poor people sorting thtrough the cast offs of more fortunate society. It was very different. Sophie and I arrived by bursting into a meeting of what looked like the well healed Jr. League. Sophie and I looked like Kosovo refugees, no offense meant to any Kosovos, We lost our only comb a few days ago and tried to make do with a 3 centimeter bratz doll comb. It worked sort of ok on my fine hair but Sophie's curly hair ended up looking like Don King on a motorcycle. I didn't bring Sophie a coat because it was warm, and I am a bad mother, but then it snowed last night so I had to make do with three sweaters limiting her range of motion. Before us were a squadron of well dressed women all working their hearts out. My friend, Cassie Matthew, runs this and was organizing things effortlessly. She was saying sheets there, clothes over there cook wear there. Everyone was working like a well oiled machine, putting food in bags organizing pastries and coffee and putting up signs. If Cassie had said ok now do it hopping on one leg we all would of, she leads by sheer force of personality and charisma. I was amazed at the really nice things people donated, one hotel had given sheets towels and really nice bathrobes. (this was set up day, saturday is the day of the market) At the end of setting up Cassie was talking to some of the jr. league set and the most intimidating of the bunch, thin well dressed sort of aloof started regailing Cassie with stories of an upcoming court date. What's this? A criminal element in the jr. league. The criminal element is my favorite element, next to the honda element of course. Turns out that this pretend jr. leaguer was a recipient and a volunteer who had seen her share of trouble and still had such a great spirit and was so generous with her time. There was something so wonderful about doing this kind of work with these wonderful women, everyone hugs you. Cassie's wonderful friend Terrie Smith was at the forfront of this and while barely knowing me give s these wonderful warm hugs making me feel so welcome and cared for. After the worst year of my life there was something so comforting about the acceptance of this group of women. While I am not terribly religious or religious at all actually, I am really impressed and a little jelous of this group of women of their faith and sense of belonging in the world. It felt like a long cold drink of water on a really hot day. I am very grateful for this experience and am so impressed with all that Cassie has accomplished, she was my college roomate and while not as bad as me she was pretty close. I asked if she was tired and she said a little, turns out she works at night and looks after three boys and manages to work the freemarket. If Sophie strays from the house speciality of bread and butter I feel overwhelmed, and have lay down with a cold cloth on my head. The only sour note of this day was one of the Jr. Leaguers spottless perfect children taught Sophie "talk to the Hand" Sophie of course had to ride home strapped to the hood of the car. Don't tell social services. Valerie


  1. I think I know what you mean when you describe the feeling of being surrounded by warm, good people.... I often wish to be able to give that warmth, but it's hard :-). Glad you enjoyed yourself.
    Great photo of Sophie!

  2. i'm glad that it was a good experience for you, wish i could give you a big hug too!

  3. You are the best friend a best friend could have. I cried and laughed hysterical reading your comments. It's all so feel anything excpet poor souls. I love my life, but there are many dark moments, moments when I'm caring for the homeless more than my husband, which is easier to do I must add. Many times I'm pretending Im going to be a missionary and leave the whole lot of them. If only they appreciated me as the Free Market folks do...see sweet Valerie, at times it is very soothing to my soul to be so "religious". I know for sure God is huge in my life...but I battle demons like the rest of are easily disguised in "volunteerism". I love your brutal honesty...and a reminder...jr. leagures aren't all they appear to be...some are out on probation doing their community service, one step away from prison, glad you could relate and give good advice! I cannot tell you how happy you and Sophie make me! Can't wait until the next Jr. League meeting!
    Love Cassie...eating myself sick with Resee's Easter Eggs!