Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: ZEST (10/01/15)
TITLE: God's Great Parking Lot
By Francie Snell
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A lively serenade of violins, fiddles, and banjos welcomed the crowd that day with music resonating through the open air market. The aroma of newly brewed coffee beckoned me along the isle of tables filled with freshly baked pastries and other sugary delights.
A breakfast crepe on a paper plate hovered past my eyes, carried by a tall stranger. The man noticed my great curiosity for the content on his plate, and playfully teased with a laugh, "You'll have to get your own". He smiled and nodded towards a booth behind him. "Over there," he said, "They have all kinds," and then continued on his way.
Immediately, I took a place in line and waited shortly before placing my order. "Mushrooms, spinach and cheese please." The woman set to work, and within minutes, handed me the hot culinary creation. I sprinkled it with salt.
After my feast, I continued my journey along displays of lush organic fruits and vegetables where bright red tomatoes, the size of softballs, made me gasp in disbelief. All of the vendors were friendly, offering out sweet samples of their choice produce.
I strolled to the far end of the square, where a mural with vibrant colors was displayed on a wall of an adjacent building facing the market place. It was a painted memory of a time when the "Flower Guy" still rented space there. A mural painted in his memory, it encapsulated the festive spirit of the market showing him in the foreground tending to his many customers. Known for his passion for showing kindness, he became the beloved icon of the market.
My tenderhearted friend, who frequents the market regularly, had known the man and shared her memories with me one day. "His biggest gift to others was his words," she said with a quiver in her voice. "He made you feel like you were the most important person in his life. He'd tell stories about his flowers and explain the special ways he grew them in his garden. Then he'd say 'How lovely you look today' and 'it's so wonderful to see you'. He was so kind and so filled with love. And he loved his family; he brought a different one of his young daughters with him every week so he could spend time with each one individually."
My friend seemed to relish those times and the fond memories she had of the man. The "Flower Guy" had planted more than just flowers. He had planted seeds of appreciation in the people who had grown to love him.
I found a chair to rest in the shade of a canopy, to finish my coffee and watch the people walking by. Bright colored clothing, broad brimmed hats, and sweet perfumes added to the atmosphere of celebration. There seemed to be electricity that connected everyone in some wonderfully mysterious way. Smiling eyes, playful banter, warm handshakes, and tight hugs all seemed to be part of the wonderful fabric weaving everyone together. It was a dynamic power uplifting the spirits of the people fortunate enough to be there.
There were a number of people, friends I knew, who had made it to the party as well. It was a glorious reunion where we shared the same happiness. We sat and relaxed together in the warmth of the late morning sharing the latest in our lives. I wished I could do this every day. This was a place where the gray and mundane, and the worries of everyday life were placed aside for a while. Our focus was on each other, with freedom and joy, and lots of color.
It was one of the last hurrahs for the Farmer's Market before the season's end. I was so glad I had managed to be there. Those few blessed hours rejuvenated my spirit and reminded me how fortunate we all are by God's gift of life and each other.
I can't wait to get back there again, hopefully before its last day this year. But there's always next summer, God willing, when I will attend again at God's great Parking Lot.
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