Monday, October 04, 2004

The Return of Autumn

In Celebration, you can easily tell that Autumn has returned. No, it's not because of a chill in the air, although the love bugs swarming around might serve as a hit. And it's not because of the falling leaves in hues of red and orange and gold. We've got lots of falling trees, but the leaves tend to stay put on the limbs of the hurricane survivors. The one sure sign of fall is the return of the Farmer's Market downtown on Sunday mornings.

I was so pleased that one of my favorite traditions can begin again. Every Sunday morning, I love to walk or bike (or occasionally drive) downtown to get an icy cup of fresh-squeezed lemonade with a fancy little flamingo straw and to select a cookie from the French pastry vendors. Should I pick the turtle style or the peanut butter filled? Decisions, decisions! My husband is always on the prowl for the coffee booth, where he gets fresh-ground Banana Foster. It's one of the few flavors that can tempt him away from Barnie's.

The first time I attended the Farmer's Market, living in Celebration was a dream, and I had no idea just how quickly it was about to come true. As I strolled the aisles that very first time, I was sad that I couldn't buy anything because I knew that produce and crafts wouldn't do too well on a plane.

The next year, unbelievably, I was a homeowner in Celebration. During that happy fall last year, I was still in a state of shock that suddenly I was a Floridian. Granted, I was doing a long commute back north, but my husband and I had taken a huge step forward in our ultimate goal of making Florida our home base. Now I could shop for trinkets for my home, like a wreath or houseplants or whatever else caught my fancy.

This year, the novelty of home ownership and the joy of being a resident of Celebration hasn't worn off yet. But it's tempered somewhat by the fact that our town has weathered three hurricanes in one year. Still, at least it felt like a bit of normalcy to see the canopies set up and to recognize many of the vendors from last year. The lemonade man was there, as was my husband's coffee booth, and of course the pastry stand. Suddenly it felt as though no time had passed; I slipped back into my Sunday morning routine as easily and comfortably as I slip on an old, comfy sneaker.

It will be a challenge to come downtown by bike for a while, since there are still trees and debris down on many of the bike paths. And with Lexin having sold the downtown parking lots to Issa, who knows if there will still be room for the Farmer's Market when new townhomes or condos go up and the parking and open space disappears.

But it's hard to worry too much about the future when I'm savoring the carmel filling of a cookie as I stroll contentedly among the booths. There have been a lot of changes in the three seasons that I've been coming to the Farmer's Market. Goodness knows that many have been major, but most have been pretty good. Hopefully when I look back next year on the Fall, 2004 season, I'll beable to say the same.

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