The Bad

Why are we so violent? Why are we, in the land of the free and home of the brave, so freaking violent? Why do we still insist on solving our problems by shooting up random people with our guns? In the wake of the Chattanooga shootings, which were in the wake of the Charleston shootings, which were in the wake of a gazillion other fill-in-the-blank-city shootings, I am so tired, almost to the point of being numb, which is terrible. We don’t even have time to recover from a shooting before there’s another one to watch 24/7/365 on cable news.

When I was growing up and thinking about someday becoming a mother, this is not the world I planned for them. And yet, I’m not going to become a shut-in and never let them go anywhere. I teach my children the Golden Rule. I encourage them to have hopes and dreams for the future. Why are there seemingly so many people who don’t have these valuable teachings? Why do we have so much hate and hopelessness?

Why can’t we stop killing each other? We are our own worst enemy.

The Good

While this may seem like a strange segue, today I did one of my favorite things that always makes me feel like we can all love each other and get along. It just happened to coincide with the past week’s news; it was not intentional. However, if ever I want to be in the midst of different and interesting people, I take myself and my kids to the DeKalb International Famer’s Market in Decatur, GA.

Apr. 20, 2012 DeKalb County :  The DeKalb Farmers market located at 3000 E. Ponce De Leon Avenue shown here on Friday, Apr 20, 2012 is looking to expand. The proposed expansions of the existing DeKalb Farmers Market include 718,367 SF of new warehouse area and 517,949 SF of new retail area. The proposed project will require 2 new driveways; 1 signalized and 1 unsignalized. The proposed project will provide 2,637 new parking spaces, while 763 existing parking spaces will remain. John Spink /
Photo by The Internet

If you haven’t been there, the first visual feels like a market in New York City. People of all colors are shopping for all kinds of food from all kinds of places. As you enter, the smells of the fish market, mixed with spices, coffee, and people (lots of people)  wake you up, which is good because otherwise, you will get run over by the buggies! The sounds of different languages, among the employees and the customers, stimulates my English major brain and is a lovely, familiar soundtrack that I don’t often hear in my small town. The bounty and beauty of a rainbow of produce from everywhere in the world actually overwhelms a bit…until you get your wits together and start to go with the flow. Rows upon rows of greens, peppers, tomatoes, a HUGE row just of mangoes, every type of eggplant you could imagine, and then of course, some cool stuff you’ve never heard of. Plenty of local produce, too. Peas and peaches from Georgia. Lots from Cali and Florida. Plenty of organic. Literally more produce than you ever dreamed existed in one place, and at incredibly reasonable prices. If you live in a place where you take this kind of place for granted…don’t. It’s a shiny, happy place for me.

Scotch Bonnets.
Indian and Thai eggplants.
Georgia White Acre Peas.
Gorgeous heirloom tomatoes.
Ew. WTH is “ratalu?”

After feasting with my eyes on the produce, I made my way to the cheese. Oh cheese. You complete me.

Like a kid in a candy store.

Next, on to the organic bakery- such fantastic breads, muffins, pastries, cookies, and cakes. I always buy the oatmeal/cranberry/white chocolate cookies to snack on the way home. The pound cake loaves are amazing and perfect for freezing. They always give out bread samples and I have to restrain myself not to break in line. Today: whole wheat sourdough, challah, and fruit and nut. All equally phenomenal. In the middle of my blissful, carb-y haze, my kid informed me that there was a sign that said “No Photos.” “Well… I didn’t see any signs,” I said haughtily. Then he pointed to the sign near the entrance. “Well…that’s stupid,” I said as I put my phone away quickly, walked opposite from the security guard, and made my way to the cashier. I don’t know what they don’t want photos of, so I cropped out all people, all signage, all prices, and I will be happy to apologize later, if need be. #ethics #suchprettyphotostho

This is what I had in the buggy before I had to put my phone away. We also added the whole wheat sourdough as well as an asiago half-loaf, mini zucchini muffins that are totally normal sized, a cheese tsunami, some Georgia peaches, and 2 pound cake loaves. Yes, there’s a lot of wine here. And yes, that’s a dragon fruit. We always buy something weird and figure out a way to eat it. Wish us luck!

The Pretty

I don’t think that an International Farmer’s Market can solve the world’s ills, but it can’t hurt. My daughter saw people wearing head scarves and head-to-toe black dresses. My son heard numerous languages being spoken. They saw the employees’ ID badges that displayed their varied home countries in far away places. They saw food they’d never eaten. They smelled a busy market. They were out of their comfort zones and had fun. We were all there to find food to feed our families and to enjoy the weekend. Our bodies will be fed but so will our souls. We are not that different, when it all comes down to it.

Maybe if we spend time around one another, especially someone who is not like ourselves, maybe we will start to understand. Maybe if we see people unlike ourselves face-to-face, with their families, doing what we all do, maybe we will start to have compassion. Maybe if we get away from the computer, and the video games, and cable news, maybe we will be happier with our lives. Then maybe we will be happier with others. And teach our children the Golden Rule. And have hopes and dreams for the future. It may not solve all our problems, but it can’t hurt.

Take care of yourselves and each other,