Aunt Jill takes her friends' twins on a trip to the farmers' market.
When my friends' twins were born, I started daydreaming about taking them to the Farmers' Market. We would peruse local produce, marveling at the color of the dirt-encrusted beets, smelling the intoxicating herbs, snacking on samples of cheese, honey, bread. They'd each choose a vegetable and we'd all take it home and cook it together, cultivating a love for the fruit of Ohio's soil. And later -much later - Connor, by then a chef in Napa Valley, or Evan, a folk-singer-turned-organic-farmer- would be interviewed by Terry Gross on NPR and attribute their love of produce, mankind and all things earthy to Aunt Jill.
"I need your kids," I say to Ryan over the phone on a recent Saturday morning. "You can have them," he responds without hesitation.
I head to the bank for 10 crisp one-dollar bills, memories of childhood birthday cards in mind. Both 4-year-olds would receive an envelope with five-dollar bills and instructions to purchase one sweet thing and one fruit or vegetable.
What Really Happens: Speed Shopping
The first booth features dog treats. One boy suggests they buy one, just in case they get a dog someday. Their mother Sarah shuffles them on to a stand featuring candy, which the boys tackle like it is the last place on earth that will take their money. Evan walks away with a $2.50 chocolate-covered pretzel stick garnished with M&Ms, while Connor chooses a $1 green chocolate frog sucker.
Fruits and Vegetables
They are so not interested. My heart only breaks a little, because, well, I didn't eat a beet until I was 30. They each choose a (sweet) apple, and then they are done. Within seconds, the remaining money is shoved in my hands; they don't want it any more. They want to go to the park. I coerce them into helping me pick lettuce with the remaining cash. None of us swoon at the dirt-covered leaves or hold the greens to our faces, taking in the freshness of Central Ohio. Instead, there are slides to conquer and treats to eat.
The Ride Home
"Are you guys going to thank Aunt Jill for taking you to the Farmers' Market and for giving you money to spend?" Sarah prods on the return drive. I receive two sweet thank-yous. But the gift they leave me with is as poignant as my market reveries. Connor has a question of his own: "Are you going to thank us for giving you the rest of our money so you could buy your lettuce?" A laugh escapes before I answer. The kid has a point. "Why, yes, I am."
What I Learned
Say "thank you."
- Jill Moorhead doesn't have children, but borrows her friends' kids with a dual purpose: to actually see her friends, and to find ways to spoil their offspring. She writes about food in Columbus Crave and Columbus Monthly, as well as at itinerantfoodies.com.