"Hey, you have a customer, Jack," I say.
"Oh, okay." The slow smile of a farmer, all freckles and deep dimples, Jack strides, slow gate and straight back, toward a man in sunglasses, two kids slack at his elbow. A nod. "Right this way," he says.
He points to a flagstone path alongside the greenhouse belly and hops along each stone, the dad and kids two steps behind. I watch through the plastic panel as he points to a rack of cherry tomatoes, a rack of slicers, and a long table of sauce and canning tomatoes. He hands the man a homemade catalogue and settles in. Unhurried, content, I watch advice and instruction mime through the plastic panel.
A box of fresh tomato seedlings in one arm, the man and two kids come out to pay. Lucy and my nephew make change and visit, shade the sun from their eyes, and nod in time with conversation. Then the man and his kids stroll off.
"You guys are doing a great job," I say. "There's only one thing I think you could do better. Wanna know what it is?"
"Sure," one of my five member staff says.
"Just make sure you take the time to look at your customer's eyes," I say.
"Oh," one says. The others nod.
"Ya wanna know why?"
"Because looking at each other is how we exchange emotion. It's how you show you care and you're glad they came."
"Oh," they say. They nod, practice being reserved, professional. But they do. They stop to look at the people, look full in the face, speak affection right alongside the plants.
6267. Dear, dear friends invite our whole huge family for dinner. The most heavenly pasta and nourishing conversation unfold like carnival rides but the kind that money can't buy and planning can't ensure. We leave full and blessed.
6268. We wield the family plant sale all together, each contributing and taking up slack where needed. It flows far easier and more natural than I would ever have expected as if deep reservoirs of affection, levity, and endurance had been waiting there all along.
6289. I forget to plunge the toilet after one of the children flushes a toilet paper roll. A kind plant sale customer discovers the problem and helps clear it up.
6269. Warm, summer-hot sun finally breaks into our spring.
6270. We find great joy, those hours in the greenhouse, the time with friends, the fresh seedlings passed between us, as if health and affection could be distilled down to the newborn green leaves we pass to them.
6271. We celebrate belated birthdays for Craig and other family members. We circle the table and speak life and encouragement to each other.
6272. Jack and Jane make me rosemary whole wheat rolls.
6273. I breathe a long sigh, long enough to encircle the whole day, this whole last season, so frenzied and scheduled. The all powerful arm of Christ has been guiding us, holding certainty, invisible, along our path.
6274. Trust. I trust Jesus more. The invisible garment of love.