Here I sit in a corner booth of BJ’s Market Café. The air is thick with the smell of smoked bacon and sausage punctuated occasionally by the aroma of a passing basket of fresh-from-the-oven, homemade buttermilk biscuits, YUM! So this is the place my husband has eaten breakfast and lunch every day since he graduated college, and every summer before. The main dining area is crowded with a hodge-podge of humanity from retirees to farmers; construction workers to brokers; local law enforcement to the suspiciously ungainfull. Just now; my husband, his dad, and uncles walk past me. Jimmy sits with the men, I suspect out of respect for me as my head is buried in this laptop. They have settled just behind me at their usual round table nestled in the back by the big screen television where the Fox cable station silently displays the most recent headline news.
My niece, Dominique, has just set a steaming cup of hot coffee in front of me. It is strong and black, a deviation from my regular sweet, creamy, chocolaty “designer” coffee. Starbucks, this is not! It is the kind of place that serves up good old-fashioned home cooking featuring southern fried everything, sweet tea, heavenly home-made deserts, and strong coffee. Ahh, my toast is here.
My sister-in-law, Jeanna, has owned the diner for almost three years now. It is attached to the “farmers market” she has owned and operated since she was a senior in high school. She is truly an amazing woman and an inspiration. She was the first in my husband’s family to really take the time to get to know me. The first person outside of Jimmy who demonstrated daily what living life out loud as a Christian really meant. For that, I will be eternally grateful.
The past couple of months I have been working for the market in the green house. It is one of the reasons I have been away from bloggy land for so long. That and the death of my dell laptop’s mother board. I had forgotten how physically hard the work was but I haven’t felt more invigorated…more alive…more healthy…in a very long time.
Jeanna’s son, Michael, now manages the market where he works with his wife, Amanda and sister, Dede. Their children frequently roam the café, store and greenhouses when business is slow. I think this family part is one of the things I like the most. I travelled so much while they were growing up that I didn’t know them as adults; even though we live a stone’s throw away. ..Totally not the southern rural family tradition. In the past I met significant others during the holidays but missed graduations, birthdays, wedding s and other milestone events and now I guess I am trying to make up for lost time.
I love plant season! Surrounded by the explosion of color from the firecracker plants, the profusion of brilliance as I enter the “sun” house and welcomed by the waving arms of the Kimberly Queen ferns in the “shade” side of the greenhouse; I wonder how anyone could walk through here and not believe in God. How they are, in fact, experiencing full force the beauty of His creation. That the herbs they are buying for medicinal use, or just to live a more “organic” lifestyle are ,in fact a gift directly from above.
I love these customers just as much as the ones who stand in the aisles and talk about what God has been up to in their lives lately. I love the opportunities God provides on a day to day basis for me to share who He is and what He can and will do when a soul is laid bare and the door of the heart opened wide to receive His glorious gift of salvation. How in one step their life could be changed for all eternity.
In just a few minutes I will close up this laptop, stash it under the counter, slip into a pair of work gloves, and head next door to begin the daily routine of straightening, organizing, and arranging the various plant displays. We are having a sale this week and the customers are coming in droves. More exercise, more opportunity, more of life. This is the life God has granted me…if only for a season…plant season.
UPDATE: Plant season is over and with one person short I am working the register full time for another month.