eavesdropping at the farmers’ market

now playing: jackson browne, “in the shape of a heart”

farmers’ markets vary drastically from place to place, i’ve found.

on opposite ends of the spectrum are the manayunk farmer’s market, situated on main street in manayunk (a suburb of philadelphia), and the leesport farmer’s market, situated less than a mile from where i work.

manayunk is a trendy spot, with a main drag lined with boutique shoppes and stuffy, pretentious restaurants like sonoma and the like. a farmer’s market in manayunk bears all the authenticity of the salvation army store on rodeo drive in beverly hills…it’s lined with stands that are essentially outposts of area shoppes and the like, although i had the best meatloaf there i’ve ever had during the making of mutual angels back in ’96, and only cracker barrel is close, thus far. but – once again – i digress.

the leesport farmers market is what a farmer’s market is supposed to be – home grown fruits and vegetables and the like sold by those what grew ’em, as well as a huge outdoor flea-market area and tons of vendors hawking everything from cheap hand tools to tube socks. we’re lucky enough in my area to have two such places – nearby ephrata sports the green dragon market (which i was equally surprised to find on the ‘net).

leesport is the prototypical small town, although the seeds of development are starting to whittle away at it – there are a couple of factories there, one of which i report to every day as one third of the IT department. wednesdays are Leesport Market Days, and on occasion, when i’ve tired of Subway and driving all the way back to reading for chinese food and still feel like punishing redner’s market for changing their soup, i’ll go to the farmer’s market and mill about for a while in lieu of the mcdonalds dollar menu.

it’s an interesting hang, to say the least – mostly populated with northern berks county residents, rural folks, mennonites and the occasional amish renegade or two. probably the last place you’d expect to overhear an anti-war conversation.

i’ve been going a little more often than usual, hoping to encounter the guy who sold me a handful of pocket tees that i’ve grown quite fond of, but i haven’t caught him there yet. it is, of course, just a matter of time, but during my most recent wednesday visit, i was ambling through one of the buildings and overheard an older gentleman who was manning one of the stands say to another gentleman standing across from him, “you don’t buy into that crap on the news, do you?”

my eavesdropping radar went off and i pretended to be completely enthralled by one of the NASCAR collectibles on the table next to his booth. his tirade went on – he said (quotes are approximated), “does it seem to you like catching him has calmed things down at all? people are dying there now, just like they were before they caught him! and yeah, nobody loved this guy, but my grandson doesn’t deserve to die over there so that we can hand out money to companies that most of us don’t even know about and to make that assholes’ buddies rich!” he went on to talk about how he lived through korea and vietnam and that this is the sorriest excuse for a war he’s been witness to his whole life, and how he found it interesting that the president who assembled all the reservists and guardsmen to send them into the desert was the same president who slashed billions of dollars from veterans benefits and couldn’t be bothered to complete the service that he slid into by way of privelege during vietnam.

i had to move on at about this time, because the NASCAR collectibles guy was asking me if i wanted a deal on the Dale Earnhardt Jr model car i’d been staring at…and frankly, i’d rather eat broken glass.

not a race fan, you say? very astute of you.

the thing that struck me, though, was that this guy bore no resemblance to what i seem to personify to the right – a discontent, left-wing semi-radical liberal. this was a guy in his sixties who’d been a veteran, who had a grandson in Iraq right now and was forced to look at the harsh realities of why we’re actually there, and who didn’t seem to buy into what washington is trying to sell him.

that guy at the farmer’s market, governor bush, is the guy who will vote you out of office this year.


you know, i seem to recall starting this blog to talk about music. i do seem to have a vague recollection of that kinda being the point of the whole thing.

i’ve never been much of an activist – never was this motivated, where politics were concerned. and i’m betting that i’m not the only one outraged by what’s going on in our government right now.

but i do want to get back to discussions concerning music…

…once i calm down.

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