We’re on a week-long road trip right now, and one of our first stops was Fairfield, to visit Robin’s folks. “Hey,” Robin said, “let’s visit Larry’s while we’re here.”
“Good idea,” I said. “We can buy goodies for a gift-basket for our friends Sandy and Tom” (whom we’d be visiting a few days hence).
Robin’s dad advised us to get there right when they open at nine o’clock, as it would be swamped with people if we waited until later in the day. We took his advice and were glad we did, as it was already so crowded that it was difficult to maneuver.
Larry’s provides wheelbarrows for customers to fill with melons, potatoes, peaches, corn-on-the-cob, green beans, chili peppers, beets, strawberries, and a wealth of other fruits and vegetables.
“Oooo—I want to use one!” I exclaimed. I grabbed the handle of the nearest wheelbarrow. Uh oh.... As soon as I started to lower it to the ground, the one next to it began to tip. I watched as if the events were unfolding in slow-motion: one by one, like rows of dominos, every single wheel barrow fell over, making a huge racket.
I looked around sheepishly. The checkers behind me were all staring, and several shoppers applauded. “Oops,” I said. The two young men who came to set them aright waived away my attempt at assistance. I slunk away with my bright yellow wheelbarrow.
Meanwhile, Robin—who had spied a bin of bright red cherries—was busy picking out the ripest specimens, one by one:
I wandered around the huge warehouse-sized building, checking out the goods. Customers were stocking up on potatoes,
lemons and limes,
And as fast as folks filled their wheelbarrows, the dwindling stock was replenished:
There were a few people, however, who did not seem as excited as the others
I wandered over to a window looking out to the yard behind, and saw this idyllic, pastoral scene:
Our purchases complete, Robin took them over to the check-out counter to pay. As she waited in line, my eye was caught by a bin of bright red grapes: that would make a nice shot, I thought. I waited as a man examined the pile, taking a series of photos as he reached in to pick out the clusters he wanted.
After a minute I looked up to see a woman staring at me. “Oh, sorry,” I said, thinking she wanted to get around (though there was plenty of room for her to go behind me). As I edged closer to the bin I could see she had an odd expression. I smiled at her questioningly.
“I just can’t imagine why anyone would want to take a picture of a bunch of grapes,” she snorted derisively as pushed her wheelbarrow past, shaking her head.
* * *
We got to Sandy and Tom’s yesterday afternoon. The fruits and vegetables from Larry’s had been stowed in a cooler for safe-keeping, but shortly before we arrived we pulled over so I could arrange it in the basket we had bought. Robin suggested that I add a few wildflowers for extra color:
Very pretty, I thought.
Turns out they’re leaving today, however, which means they’ll have to schlepp the gift-basket along with them. So it was bit of a “poisoned gift,” as they say in French.