WARNING: A long and sappy personal note from the Market Manager follows. This happens from time to time.
One of our market regulars stopped by this weekend to say goodbye. She and her family are moving to the Eastern shore. As she was walking away for what may be the last time, we had to look away from each other because we were both tearing up. It's like having family move away.
This small moment reminded me of that saying about how people come into your life: some for a season, some for a lifetime. There are many versions of this idea attributed to various authors. The point, though, is that people -- and things -- come and go. While this may cause sadness, it also offers the opportunity for new experiences. One door closes and another opens, and all that.
Take, for example, our Market Committee. We have elections every year, and this year, after three consecutive years serving on the Committee, Ron Waltemyer opted not to run. He found that his business was taking him away from the Market more often, which may sound like his priorities changed. Actually, though, this is a sign that our Market served one of its purposes for Ohana Snow Shaved Ice, by helping a small business make connections in the community. Ron's advice on the needs of food trucks has been invaluable to me and the many new food truck vendors he's mentored over the years...like George Henderson of Sweet Street Donuts, who stepped up to represent in Ron's place. Ron's example also inspired Jillian Kalin of Jillian's Fare to step up -- she'll be backing up George as his alternate.
The same could be said of Matt Cox of Plant Farm Rentals, Inc. You can thank COVID-19 for bringing Plant Farm Rentals to our market -- like so many businesses, COVID-19 shutdowns made Plant Farm Rentals pivot. Now that the pandemic season is past, Plant Farm Rentals has gone back to regular business, depriving us of a highly respected Committee member. We'll miss Matt's prudent judgment, but Yayra Asante of Yisoobi Naturals has already displayed the thoughtful consideration we came to expect of Matt.
Perhaps the hardest transition for me, though, is handing the reins of market days over to Chenoa Sowa and Ashley Sealey, our On-Site Coordinators (although this transition actually started last season on Wednesdays). I'll still be handling applications and scheduling and working with the Market Committee, but you'll see me at the Market less often. I'm not going to lie; it feels a bit like taking my kids to school for their first day. I have full trust and confidence in Chenoa and Ashley and it's not like I'm leaving forever, but still, it's very hard to step away. This past Saturday's market was just so perfect...yes, almost perfect weather, but more importantly, a real sense of community and belonging. For a transplant and military brat like me, that feeling is everything.
I look forward to seeing you at our market this Saturday -- we haven't quite fully transitioned -- and then running into you on other market days and around town. Yes, I absolutely will be making any excuse to come by and stay a while. Honestly, after five seasons, I'm not sure my weekend would feel right if it didn't start at the market.
-- Kelly Phipps, Market Manager