By Marie Frances Sossi
(Note: The following event took place in the early hours on Saturday, July 22, in Jacksonville at the Lincoln Square Farmers Market.)
At the beginning of each day, I refer to my weather app. As for the past five days, the temperatures reached into the 90s. The humidity read 75 percent. However, once again rain was not predicted. As I left home, I noticed grayish clouds overhead. For a brief moment, I wondered if I should take a rain jacket on my way to the farmers market.
As a recent resident of Jacksonville, I weekly join the locals to visit the farmers market at Lincoln Square. After spending 13 years tending my own garden in the Green Mountain State, I look forward to the harvest months. I joined others storing summers’ harvest for winters’ feasts. On this day, I headed for the Gregory’s farm stand to purchase tomatoes for my empty freezer. After purchasing a huge bag of ripened tomatoes, I turned to continue to shop only to witness and unpredictable occurrence.
Without warning, a rapid gush of rain pelted on everyone and everything in the market area. Quickly, I noticed the farmers were no longer manning their sale items. Instead, the farmers were holding tight to the narrow square-shaped legs supporting their overhead canopies. The canopies were bellowing as the farmers took on the role of battling sailboat crewmen. Farmers secured the legs to their tent as they prayerfully waited for the impulsive winds to subside. With both hands, a farmer tightly anchored a leg onto the pavement of the parking lot. Market visitors of various ages, race, creeds and abilities saw the crises and immediately supported unattended legs. The winds entered and exited from various directions; canopy after canopy became waving flags. Arms after arms reached to retrieve the canopies.
After a farmer secured his canopy, he was ready to aid his neighboring farmer. Bodies were drenched with sharp spears from rain. During this peril situation, no one demonstrated concern for self. They might have thought it, as did I. Neighbor helped neighbor. Stranger helped stranger. Yes, it was a good morning … somewhat supersaturated with wetness, but a good morning to be initiated into the selfless community of Jacksonville.