Saturday, September 24, 2005

pike place

Four potted raspberry vines stared accusingly at me, but I managed to ignore them as I made my way to the car. I needed a break. I needed to lay off the cooking, baking, cleaning, planting and harvesting and steal a few hours of walking, shopping, talking and laughing. So no ... I didn't feel the least bit guilty as I walked past those pots. The raspberries could wait.

Pike Place Market is a forty-minute drive from our little farm. I spent that time sipping a latte--even though I knew my friend, Sandra, and I would probably grap a cup as soon as we met up. And that's what we did. After no less than six phone calls back and forth ("Where did you say you're parking? Isn't that the place that charges $10 for two hours? ... I'm on Virgina and 2nd. Pike is south, right? ... No, I'm not near the pig. I'm on the north end of the cobblestones" ...) we found each other, hugged hello, and ducked into the first pastry shop we could find. How I wish I could enable a scratch 'n sniff button for you (as brilliantly suggested by Christie, while commenting on my last post). Try to imagine a room full of warm, just-from-the-oven bread ... and rolls ... and tarts ... and quiche ... and puff pastry. Add to that the aroma of French Roast and espresso, and the sounds of frothing milk and chatter and chairs scooching toward tables. Bliss.

Sandra ordered something twisted, glazed and nut-studded. As I'm not a "sweets in the morning" person, I ordered a Swiss-cheese encrusted square of puff pastry--a concoction so light, so tender, it shattered into flaky particles with every bite. I could have eaten twelve.

We asked for our coffee in real cups, not paper. Sandra took hers black, but I ordered my signature latte. And oh, how superior that latte was to my usual Starbucks cup. I feel deceitful even thinking such a thought, let alone writing it, but how can you not 'fess up to something so blatant? The froth was so thick, it coated the sides of my cup. Each movement of my wrist created a new pattern of cream and brown swirls. I suppose with very little effort at all I could devote this entire post to that one perfect latte, but there's so much more to tell.

Sandra and I met two summers ago when we both taught at the Oregon Christian Writers' Conference. We connected almost instantly, and furthered that connection when we both taught at the Seattle Pacific University's Writers' Recharge this past June. Because both our husbands are in the ministry and we both write (she's the author of 30 children's books), we never run out of things to discuss. With several months of catching up to do, you can imagine the animated scene at our table. We talked first about writing, and the projects we're each mulling over, and the difficulties of balancing family needs and contracted writing obligations. I told her I'm questioning whether I really want to write during this season of my life; she understood. We shared the happenings at my church and at her husband's retirement center, and discussed the particular bittersweet nature of being pastor's wives, and about our strong desire to model grace to the women we minister to. If you had gathered up our words at the end of that first hour, and squeezed the breath from the conversation and distilled the heart of those syllables into one essential drop, that drop would be Jesus. What is Jesus asking of us at this point in our lives? How can we give those who are watching us a clearer vision of His grace? How can we offer Him more of our hearts?

Had we parted after that first hour, it would have been enough for me. I would have had the gulp of fresh, courage-endowing air I'd come looking for. But we didn't part. We meandered through the market comparing the bouquets of statice and just-cut lovelies that adorned about every third booth, sampling glossy Chukar Cherry chocolates, listening to the street musicians, watching the fish handlers toss salmon back and forth and enjoying their jovial bellows. We ogled at people (a market meandering must. Years ago I passed a boy on the cobblestones who was holding and eating a snake--a real, honest to goodness snake) and ogled the jeweled mounds of fruits and vegetables. My first purchase was a pound of Brussels sprouts. Don't make that face at me. You'd have bought a pound, too, if only because of the clever display. Same-sized, bright green orbs sat in pencil-straight rows, and near the top, a green, lifelike-looking gecko sat perched and staring, with a thin slice of a Brussels sprout clenched between his teeth. A sign at his feet said, "Don't even think of disturbing this display." When I gave my order to the guy behind the counter, I admitted to a strong urge to run my hand through those green balls. The look he gave told me he thought that was really, really funny. To mend our relationships, I asked for three pounds of creamy gold Yukon potatoes, too.

Sandra bought a jar of sour cherry jam, a half pound of picked red onions, and five Southern-fried chicken pieces which she vowed to save for dinner. I selected an autumn bouquet of burgandy Zinnias, butter-yellow Lilies, orangey-red something or other, and golden Black-eyed Susans. On the way out, I picked up a warm sleeve of Epis (braided rolls), which balanced my arms nicely.

The time went too quickly, but we promised to find another day soon for more of the same. I felt refreshed as I drove home, and thankful. God is good. I'm thankful I live in a place where I can sit in public and talk about Jesus. I'm thankful He's filled my life with kind, loving people. And I'm grateful for the sweet moments of fellowship He arranges for me, just when I need them most. It's good to sojourn together with a kindred spirit--if only for awhile.

My companion and my friend ... What fellowship we had, what wonderful discussions as we walked together ... --Ps 55:13-14 (TLB)

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21 Comment:

At 9/24/2005 11:26 AM, Blogger Ginger had this to say ...

Shannon, I just LOVE a girl trip like that. Went on one yesterday with my friend Barbara to a deli and an art gallery here in eastern WA state. Such a treat.

Your post made me want to drive across the state and visit Pike Place again. Unless gas prices fall, I think I'll be walking!

At 9/24/2005 11:51 AM, Anonymous Keydom had this to say ...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 9/24/2005 11:52 AM, Anonymous Keydom had this to say ...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 9/24/2005 1:17 PM, Blogger Mary J. Yerkes had this to say ...


I live in the Eastern United States but LOVE the Pike's Place Market. Thank you for taking me with you through your blog entry!

At 9/24/2005 1:39 PM, Anonymous Humble Pie had this to say ...

Shannon, this recount of your morning jaunt smelled absolutely wonderful! It was that perfectly detailed.

I mentioned you in the comments of my blog today and am so pleased that you proved me right with the post!

At 9/24/2005 1:53 PM, Blogger shannon had this to say ...

Well, Ginger, just as soon as you arrive, you give me a holler. I'll meet you by the pig. :) Glad you had your own girl day. They are just one of life's necessities.

To the person from Brazil who left those two comments: I'm so sorry! At first, I thought you were a spammer. Then I realized you weren't--but it was too late! Thanks for taking the time to comment. I'm sorry I didn't catch myself before I hit 'delete.'

Mary, if you ever visit (like Ginger), let me know!

Hi there, Lauren! You ... uh ... "mentioned me?" Well, I'll have to skedaddle right over there and see what you mentioned! :)

At 9/24/2005 3:46 PM, Anonymous Keydom had this to say ...

Oh, that's ok.

Keydom is a joke with "Kingdom", cause in portuguese, the litteral words "big key" are the correspondent to "clichè". Clichès are good, sometimes, but, at least in Brasil, we have too much people who abuse of it and, in the end, say nothing.
So, the blog exists to celebrate the classics in the curch, but to indicate to some people that they must be better prepared when they are about to speak, specially in the name of the Lord. Or they'd do better be quiet.
We mix humor and faith.

God's blessings, a hugh from Brasil!

At 9/25/2005 2:30 PM, Blogger Curlyqfun had this to say ...

Shannon - we are soooo much alike at times that it just amazes me. (even down to the same bouquet of flowers) Jazzy and I went to Pike Place yesterday. We love to just wonder through and look at all the stuff for sale. Plus its our little "special" trip that just her and I do together.

Always some interesting things to see, smell and hear. I love to just watch people as we walk and I'll admit ease drop on their conversations.

We start our trip with a latte and scone or something as well. And always, always watch the famous "flying fish" men do their show. Yesterday we even bought something from them. Fresh clams and mussels - went home and cooked them up. Jazzy and I chowed down. Bill not sooo much, come to find out he doesnt like them..good to know this now!

After buying our shellfish, fresh green beans and of course a bouquet of flowers we headed home. It was a successful fun trip to the market.

At 9/25/2005 4:44 PM, Blogger Gina Burgess had this to say ...

A lovely morning. I am enchanted, Shannon.

At 9/25/2005 7:28 PM, Blogger Macromoments had this to say ...

Hello from a fellow latte lover! Yes, it's nice to live in a place where you can meet like that and freely talk about your life and your faith. We take so much for granted, don't we?

Friends are some of life's most precious gifts. I loved this post, Shannon.

P.S. I clicked on Sandra's link but it didn't take me anywhere.

At 9/26/2005 6:32 AM, Blogger Sharon had this to say ...

Another awesome post Shannon.I felt like I was actually there.I just have one question though....How did you know I was making a face when you mentioned buying brussel sprouts......when I read that my face literally wrinkled up starting at my nose.....LOL.... :-) Blessings upon your day Shannon!
Love ya,Sharon

At 9/26/2005 9:43 AM, Blogger shannon had this to say ...

Gina! I'm not surprised. :) Sounds like you had a great day ... except mussels?! I just can't fathom that. Dave likes that sort of thing, but I like fairly non-gushy, non-"digestive tract included in every bite" type of food. Blech. Sorry!

Hi there, Gina Burgess! (Wow--two back-to-back Ginas.)

Bonnie--I love your picture! I always like the one of you when you were a child, but it's nice to see a grown-up Bonnie. :) Thanks for the heads-up about Sandra's link. I fixed it now. (And so that everyone knows, it's Sandra Byrd.)

Hi Sharon! You know, I just sensed you were going to make a face ... :)

At 9/26/2005 11:49 AM, Blogger Bill and Glory had this to say ...

Pike Place Market is such a favorite of ours. Bill and I had a nice lunch, once, at the same restaurant where Tom Hanks was filmed in "Sleepless in Seattle." We had a seat that overlooked Puget Sound and, for a little while, we felt like childless lovers.

Speaking of children, no this little guy is still sitting snug but not for long. Read our blog and you'll see it for yourself just how snug!


At 9/26/2005 2:35 PM, Blogger Broken Messenger had this to say ...

Pike's is such a wonderful little market. My wife and I were up and visted the market about three weeks ago. Glad to see that you got a chance to relax a bit recently, Shannon.


At 9/26/2005 4:05 PM, Blogger Nancy had this to say ...

Well, I didn't make that face with the brussel sprouts... I love them mmmmm.

Sounds like you had a great time, had I known you were going I would've had you pick up one of those wooden frogs where you run a stick on the back and it sounds like it is croaking. Let me know if you want to go again and I will play hookey from work! (Shhh don't tell)

At 9/27/2005 6:46 AM, Blogger Carol had this to say ...

I went there this past June - all the way from Texas! What a fun place!

I returned to Texas with a bit of a dilemma, however. I got really spoiled by the flowers at Pike's Place. I've always kept fresh flowers in my home. While in Seattle, we'd go to Pike's Place to pick up flowers for my sister's home - what glorious bouquets for the buck! Since returning to Texas, I haven't been able to bring myself to pay what they're asking for these scrawny little bouquets we find here. Reckon I can have 'em shipped down? ;-)

At 9/27/2005 12:57 PM, Anonymous Christie had this to say ...

Hi Shannon...I thoroughly enjoyed reading this and was mentally there with you. I take mental trips a lot, so this is nothing new. I imagine and picture everything as I read or listen to people. Sometimes that is a good thing, sometimes quite disturbing. lol

I am also wanting a Pike's Place....but I live in the mountains in the middle of Arizona. For sure I will be taking a girlfriends' day out soon! And I just talked to a friend from church Sunday and we plan to take a day soon just for us...she is the one I wrote the 'list' to and it was the instrument God used to do a lot of healing in our relationship. Thank you so much for your writing.

God bless you...c

At 9/27/2005 8:49 PM, Blogger BHGA had this to say ...

Loved every bit of this and especially the brussel sprouts....one of my favorites..

God was pouring His blessings upon you throughout this day....I enjoyed!!

At 9/29/2005 9:45 AM, Blogger Stephen had this to say ...

Sounds like a yummy time!

At 9/29/2005 3:01 PM, Blogger Darlene had this to say ...

It sounds like a day in Paris. Friends have a way of taking us out of the everyday, and leading us into a time of retreat.

At 10/25/2005 11:13 AM, Blogger Derek had this to say ...

Virginia and 2nd. That's where The Moore Theater resides. Been to a few concerts there.

Glad you had a great day!


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