Sunday, January 08, 2006

For Anne ...

There was a woman named Anne who sold garlic in the Union Square Farmer’s Market on Wednesdays and Saturdays. During my first year as a regular at the market I rarely spoke to her - just stopped in each week or so and bought some of her beautiful garlic bulbs. Some days she would have exotic looking beans, large and purple and swollen in their pods and she would tell me how she and her husband liked to prepare them and I would try it that way and report back to her.
She was long and thin and her white hair was often tucked under a straw hat and her clothes fit loose and blue about her frame like they were hanging on a wooden chairback. She had only a small table in the market and on it she spread her garlic and her beans and the herbs she grew and packaged in small envelopes with hand-printed labels.
I’m glad I kept one or two of those packets and one or two of the bouquet garni’s she prepared for me, because a few months ago I noticed she was no longer showing up at the market. And then one day I saw her sign, sitting on the table of another organic farmer, Tweefontein it read, a hand-written sign in the same hand as the labels on her herbs and below the sign was another, written in a different hand saying that Anne was ill and could no longer make it to the market to sell her garlic.I wrote to her twice but didn’t hear back. She died shortly thereafter and I never got the chance to thank her for all the wonderful tastes and smells she shared with me and for all of the joy and magic she brought by being the garlic lady in my life. Thank you Anne.