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Community: You're Doing It Right

Disclaimer: This is a personal note from the Market Manager, not a sales pitch. It's really more of a weekend feel-good read. Feel free to skip it and wait for the next post.

I heard from a friend/collaborator that the recommended social media post is 60-80 words long. That's hard for me on a regular day, and impossible after a couple of things that happened at yesterday's market.

The first happened while we were still setting up. A passing motorist's (we'll call her "Mary") vehicle totally lost power in the middle of Washington Ave. All she could do was call for roadside assistance, and by the time George (Sweet Street Donuts) came to alert me to her problem, she was doing just that, and another passing motorist (we'll call him "Sam") had stopped to see if she needed help. Sam saw that oncoming traffic from both directions was already a problem, so he put out a hazard triangle. George and Sam agreed that the Mary's truck needed to be pushed out of the way before traffic got out of control. Mary wasn't comfortable steering her dead vehicle in reverse, so she handed me her keys and entrusted me with that. (I'm not a great driver in reverse, either, btw.) George, Sam, and I got Mary's vehicle into the Maredith building parking lot without incident, and traffic flow resumed. Done and done -- we all went about our business. The tow truck eventually came.

The second event happened in the blazing heat of the afternoon. A visitor (we'll call her "Maria") browsing at Verzaubernte Perlen was overcome by heat and needed to sit down. Caroline asked Maria's daughter, "Elena" -- because Maria spoke only Spanish -- if Caroline could call 911. Maria insisted that she did not want an ambulance. Caroline took a frozen bottle of water out of her own cooler for Maria to use as a cold compress, and came to let me know what was happening. Elena was understandably flustered, worried about honoring Maria's wishes but also concerned about her well-being. Maria again declined an ambulance and told us she just wanted to go home, but agreed to drink some water and wipe her face with a cool towel, a timely delivery from Beth Turner at Bowling Green Farm. Beth also brought a floor fan that happened to be at market for the predicted 107-degree heat -- who knew how useful that would be! With traffic direction by Craig Hower from our Market Committee, Elena brought her vehicle to the safest, closest place possible, and we all got Maria and her belongings settled into some much-needed A/C. Elena wrote to me later and let me know that Maria was fine: "I want to say thanks to all of you for the kindness and help that was provided to my mother-in-law today. She is feeling much. I’m very thankful, and it makes me feel so grateful that there is still kindness in this world. I want to let you know that you make this world a better place to be♥️."

Elena's message is what really brought it all home for me. You may have heard me gush once or twice about my Market Committee, about our Market as its own community within a community, and about how supportive our broader community is, even in the harshest weather and pandemic conditions. You may also have seen the post by Bowling Greenhouse at Jameson Farm when passersby helped without hesitating.

Here's the feel-good message I hope you'll walk away with: we live in a community where strangers literally pull each other out of ditches voluntarily, without expecting compensation. While the mass media is busy peddling negativity, we're out here taking care of each other and doing beautiful things. It may not be obvious to you on a day-to-day basis, but generally, when you need help, help will appear.

PS If your kid questions why they need to take Spanish or know how to recognize the signs of heat injury, tell them Maria's story.

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