Last Sunday, I found myself taking my feet back to familiar territory. I needed to feel my roots. This little town holds roots of the past seasons of my life, and I needed to feel grounded.
As I entered the city limits, I passed the cemetery where my cousin is buried. Cancer took her in her thirties, leaving behind a young daughter and husband. I said a "thank-you, Lord" for the fact I am still alive and well.
As my car pulled into the square, my memories went back to over 35 years ago, when a young teenage girl and young man were deeply in love. A love that was so innocent they felt they could take on the whole world's wars and win. He was so in love with her that he drove up from Central Texas to meet her here at the courthouse. Her grandmother was involved with a "Singing". My Sunday songs are dedicated to her. People from everywhere met in this courthouse. Songbooks we handed out as every type of voice and sound was lifted up to the Lord in praise....a "Singing". The winter Texas weather turned frigid and they all scattered to beat the storm. The drive back to Central Texas was hours and hours of battling snow and ice. They didn't care, it just meant hours of talking and sharing in the car. They would later marry...this June, it will be 33 years.
The storms have been strong this past decade. That innocent love, lost at times...but they still move forward.
That season of my life is sketched in my heart forever.. I can still hear my grandmother.
I parked my car. You now have to pay. As a child, we just parked anywhere and got out ready to wander down through First Monday, Canton's world-famous, monthly, city-wide flea market. It wasn't a popular place when I was a child. It was just one of those "East TEXAS things". I can still recall the tree my great-aunt sold her wares under. The sights, sounds and smells took me through all the seasons of my life when I would come here. As a child, a madly in love teenager, a young mother, the owner of a store I called "Mother's Keepsakes", sharing the place with my own children, as an older adult and today, a business owner once again. This place has always stated, "one man's junk is another man's treasure." The crowds today showed that many have decided this is a chic place to visit.
I strolled through, as I have in the past, looking for vendors I could possibly use. This time, my eyes noticed something my "younger" eyes hadn't noticed. The faces of the vendors were mainly older. Many should be home, living what we call the "America Dream", which is retirement. Instead, they are battling the crowds and heat, bringing their wares to market.
My eyes loved this large booth. The women were delightful, the colors of their creations were cheerful. I decided to ask where they were from.
The retirement-age woman shared the little East Texas town where she lives. She didn't expect me to know anything about this town. My heart jumped as I told her who my husband's aunt and uncle were that lived in that town. She smiled as she told me about knowing his aunt. This aunt was very special to me....she loved me and I fought back tears. I promised to come to their shop in that little town...why would I come to that little town they asked? I said, because I need to remember. With each step I took, more roots kept pushing down through my stubborn soil.
I finished up the day with tired feet and a hand full of business cards. I enjoyed seeing and hearing the women from East Texas share their wares... and stories. I was encouraged by their tenacity for living at this stage in life. This time, I won't return with items to resell as before, or items to decorate my own home, but I will return with lessons that "all things are possible".
I finished my tour looking at aprons. I was pulled toward a booth with brightly colored aprons. The lady stepped out to help me, while walking with a cane. She would no longer be at the booth, but continued with me through her Esty shop. Can you guess the name of the apron I was drawn to? I didn't have a clue until I picked up the tag...
That's right...the apron's name was Lucy. Doesn't God have a sense of humor?
Thank you Lord for allowing my feet to walk on familiar ground. Thank you for reminding me of my roots...both my earthly roots and more importantly my spiritual roots.
- If you would like to see the websites of the booths I enjoyed, they are listed below. Today, this flea market can be seen all over the world. In past decades, it was just people trading and selling their wares locally: