Tuesday, July 30, 2013 8:14 AM
A Saturday morning in town
By Lee Jennings | Special to the Times
The Wilson Farmers Market was swarming with people of all ages in the July morning heat. The colors and textures of locally grown vegetables and fruits looked like an artist’s handiwork. There were juicy red ripe tomatoes, sweet yellow ears of corn, smooth yellow summer squash, fresh green beans and more. The blueberries were big and sweet, and the peaches had just the right amount of fuzz and firmness.
Six-year-old Emma Baker had just bitten into one of the peaches and had juice running down her arm and off her elbow. Mr. Baker had some napkins at his table and wiped the sticky juice off Emma’s arm. Mr. Baker had brought some of his local vegetables to sell along with some cakes and cupcakes that Mrs. Baker had made completely from scratch.
There was a sour cream pound cake, a yellow cake with chocolate icing and an angel food cake layered with blueberries, whipped cream and strawberries. The cupcakes were chocolate with pink icing, and others had white icing. Mrs. Baker was an excellent cook, and some people looked forward to visiting the Bakers’ table just to buy a cake for their Sunday dinner dessert to go behind the fresh vegetables that they also bought or traded for at the market.
Sandy the farm hound lay under the table at Mr. Baker’s feet. She loved coming to the Farmers Market at the fairgrounds on Saturday morning. There was nothing like getting up early and riding with Mr. Baker and Emma to the fairgrounds. When they got there and unloaded the truck, Sandy liked smelling all the different smells and seeing all the different people as Mr. Baker set up their vegetables and cakes.
Farmers would visit each other and talk about the amount of rain they had seen and new hybrids of vegetables. They could talk for hours about anything that had to do with farming or food or the garden pests of the year.
The morning passed quickly, and Sandy was getting hungry. Mr. Baker had sold all of Mrs. Baker’s cakes and cupcakes, and all of his vegetables; except there was a trade of a half dozen of Mr. Baker’s tomatoes for a half dozen of Mr. Gardner’s peaches.
The sun blazed down as Mr. Baker started the engine to the truck, and he pulled out onto U.S. 301 to head home. Emma was buckled in beside him, and Sandy stood in the bed of the red truck with the wind flapping her ears back and her tongue hanging out.
She was loving life. She wondered what would be for lunch. Mrs. Baker had gone shopping with her sister today, so Sandy knew that she wouldn’t be there to fix lunch. Sandy’s 1-year-old puppy, Fudge, was watching after the sheep today and had probably eaten before Mrs. Baker left to go shopping.
In just a few minutes, Mr. Baker turned onto Nash Street and then turned in at Dick’s Hot Dog Stand. Sandy’s mouth began to water thinking of the delicious hot dog that awaited her. She knew that she would have to wait in the bed of the truck for Mr. Baker and Emma to eat inside the restaurant. So, she found a cool spot in the truck and lay down for a short nap.
Mr. Baker ordered a cheeseburger and French fries, and Emma ordered a hot dog and French fries. They gobbled down their food after asking the blessing and drank enough soft drinks to float a boat. The drinks were so cold and icy, a real refreshment after being in the sun all morning.
Mr. Baker ordered two plain hot dogs for Sandy, who was still asleep in the truck. After paying Mr. Gliarmis for the great meal, he and Emma walked to the truck with Sandy’s hot dogs and a bottle of water. Sandy woke up when she heard their voices and stretched, making a yawning sound that only dogs can make like that.
Mr. Baker patted Sandy on her blond head and poured the bottled water in her dish in the bed of the truck. She drank half the water before looking up. Then Emma held out one of the hot dogs for Sandy to take. Sandy finished it off in four bites. Then Emma gave her the other hot dog, and she finished that one off just as fast. After drinking the rest of her water, the Bakers headed back home. It had been a busy morning.
Once they were back at the Bakers’ farm, Sandy trotted down to the sheep pasture to check on Fudge, who was learning a lot about her chores at the farm. Then Sandy trotted back to the farm house where Mr. Baker was sitting on the front porch drinking sweet tea that Mrs. Baker had left for him in the refrigerator.
Emma had gone inside to take a nap and had gone to sleep in a matter of minutes. Sandy came up on the porch and lay down close to Mr. Baker. He reached down and rubbed Sandy’s fuzzy head. His hands were rough from all the work on the farm but gentle and strong. Sandy couldn’t imagine having any other master than Mr. Baker.
She was a part of the Baker family. She helped Mr. Baker with the sheep and kept deer and raccoons and rabbits from eating the vegetables. She watched the house to make sure that no strangers caused any problems. And she knew she had a mission and a purpose.
Mr. Baker had instilled these things in Sandy as a puppy, and he talked to her just like he did the other family members. He took good care of Sandy and let her come in to sleep on the braided rug by the big stone fireplace when there was bad weather. He played fetch with her and taught her how to obey commands.
Sandy loved Mr. Baker and settled her chin between her paws as she lay there beside his chair. Just the smell of him made her feel loved and safe. If you think about it, we all have a master that lovingly teaches us how to obey his commands and gives us worth in him.