I Did Not Want to Pop Corn: Meeting a Princess at the Farmer’s Market

I never dreamed popping Kettle Corn (something I fought not to do, scared of it, dreading it) would be so rewarding! It’s all about the wonderful people we meet! Like I’ve said before, never in my life, until I was 63, did I work with the public. I worked in private homes and loved all my jobs. But, I’d listen with great interest as my sisters would tell ‘restaurant’ stories, things that happened while working as a waitress and meeting many different people during the day. I always wondered what that would be like. 

Now I know. I totally love it!

Selling popcorn may be very different from working as a waitress, but still, it’s working with the public.

Tim and I have always loved ‘people watching,’ but now we get to interact with them!

 It has changed our lives, blessed us in so many ways. Often when someone walks away after a very interesting conversation, I will look at Tim and say, ‘I know, if we wouldn’t be popping, we would not have met them!’ To which Tim will smile bigly with a look of, ‘I told you so.’

 He is right. 

So many of the different people who walk up to our tent every time we pop have become our friends!

When we get back home in the Spring after 3 months in Florida, I am so excited for our first time back at the Pickens Flea Market to see our ‘regulars’ again. 

Actually, not to let our Florida friends out of the picture, we ALWAYS look forward to seeing them again when we return in the Winter! 

I could write a story about someone every time we pop! We meet the most wonderful and interesting people. They inspire us with their stories, making us laugh, or even cry at times and marvel at how they handled life in spite of hardships.

Today I want to tell you about a Princess.

Just few weeks ago, at the Farmer’s Market I met her for the first time as she came waking up to our tent with the help of a walker that rolled in front of her, carrying her different purchases in a basket. She was slender and tall, wore a hat and dressed to a T. As she came closer, I noticed that her black skin looked like she may have been burned one time. The mask over her nose and mouth hid a lot of her face, but her eyes, although you could tell the skin around them had been injured, smiled back at me and she said in an inquiring voice, ‘Tell me about this Kettle Corn,, what is the difference between the 2 kinds you have here.’ 

I told her how it’s made and then asked if she wants to taste it. She answered ‘yes!’ and held out her hand to receive the popcorn I wanted to pour into it. I noticed immediately that her fingers must have been burned too, they were only stubs. She reached out with her other hand to make a bigger ‘bowl’ to receive the popcorn and I noticed the other hand looked the same. She tasted the popcorn and declared with an excited voice, ‘I want some!’ She chatted a bit more, an upbeat person, and very fun to talk to. She then walked on, pushing her walker as she went. I looked at Tim and said, ‘Now that is a lady I want to get to know!’

I got to know her more the very next week.

It was toward the end of the Market and I saw her coming. She was pushing that walker straight for our tent. I smiled at her, and her eyes smiled back. She stopped and looked right at me, her eyes turning into little slits and said, ‘You got me hooked on that stuff! I couldn’t keep my hand out of that bag!’ 

We were talking ‘popcorn’ when another gal walked up, her personality was just as bright as the tie-dyed yellow bib overalls she was wearing. The lady with the walker turned to look at her and said, ‘I really like those bibs your wearing!’ The gal with the yellow bibs said, ‘Thank you! I had a brain injury and for 10 years my husband needed to watch me, and he had these made for me so he can find me  anywhere!’

The lady with the walker said, ‘You had a brain injury?’

The gal with the yellow bibs started dancing around and said, ‘I DID have one but not anymore! After 10 years I am ok! I feel like dancing every day!’ 

The lady with the walker said, ‘I know how you feel, I felt the same way after I healed from my burn years ago.’ The two of them started talking to each other while I was taking care of other customers.

After awhile the dancing lady in her yellow bibs walked on. The lady with the walker was paying for her popcorn and I decided she must not mind talking about what happened to her because she brought it up. This was my chance.

‘I heard you say you were burned. May I ask you what happened?’ She had turned to go, but when I asked her that question, she stopped and turned right toward me and said, ‘I was burned in a house fire. I was in a coma for 2 months, in the hospital for 9 and many more months of rehab. I had 3rd degree burns all over my upper torso.

I shook my head, trying to even imagine what that must have been like. She said she was a nurse, 35 at the time and remembers every bit of the accident like it was yesterday. She is now in her 60’s. Two years ago, she had a bone marrow transplant for an Autoimmune disease. She said all of that in a matter-of-fact way, saying it will not get her down and went on to talk so upbeat about her life. My admiration for her was bursting. She could have been the most ‘poor me’ person, but she was anything but that! 

When she held out her hand to pay for her popcorn, the credit card was stuck between the stubs that used to be fingers on her hand. I took the card and swiped it. Handing it back it was not the familiar process of seeing someone else’s fingers take it from me. She held up her fist like hand and I put the card right back between the stubs. Her other ‘fist like’ hand held open her purse and she stuck the credit card into a slot in her purse. I was suddenly very mindful of my fingers and how very, very much we use them every day, all day long. (Notice that for a while,, it makes a person very thankful.)

She stood there, eyes smiling back at me. I could tell she enjoyed visiting just as I did, like maybe she didn’t want to move on right away. I would have loved to talk longer, but there were other customers. I looked at her pretty straw hat; it had sparkles in it. It looked very cute on her. ‘I love your hat!’ I told her. Her eyes smiled and she said ‘Thank you.’

‘What is your name?’

‘Princilla’ she said.

‘Princilla? That is a pretty name, but I’m going to call you Princess if you don’t mind.’

She laughed and turned to go. I was looking forward to seeing her again! I wanted to hear more of her story, not necessarily about the burn accident, but what is making her tick inside, and makes such a cheerful spirit exude from her in spite of her challenges.

Week before last I didn’t see her. I missed her, she makes such an impact on me every time. This week I saw her coming, tall and stately headed for our tent, her smile covered with the mask she was wearing, but her eyes told me it was there! She said, 'I'm just stopping by to say ‘hi’ but will be back to get more of my addiction!’

She did come back again, and as we were chatting and I couldn’t resist. I asked if I could take a picture with her. She immediately ripped her mask off and said, ‘Why, yes of course!’ That is the first time I saw her beautiful smile!

I get tears, just writing this! She is such a beautiful soul and inspires me every time we talk and I wanted to share her with you. 

Today I am thankful I pop corn. I am also thankful for my not so pretty fingers that are bony and crooked.

The people we meet are incredible!

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