My Happy Place

It was 4:25 am on Saturday when I saw Monica’s headlights outside of the house. I grabbed my bowl of hot oatmeal, half gallon of iced caffeinated beverages, change of shoes and bags of packed lunch, and headed out the door. It seemed like a ridiculous amount of luggage for one man, but this was a Market Saturday, and promised be a long one.

We met Logan at the farm and loaded up; making sure we had our tablets, scales, cash, market boxes, tents, tables and all of the crates and boxes of veggies. Given the bulk of this week’s harvest, our Neenah/Appleton run would require two vehicles, and we hopped in the Ray and followed Logan’s tan VW out of the driveway and out to the highway.

About a quarter of the way to the Fox Cities, smoke and shrapnel started pouring from the passenger’s side of Logan’s ride. “Uh oh, pretty sure Logan just shredded a tire…”

Sure enough, we pulled over beside him and got to business digging out the spare. As I dug around for the wrenches and jack, I couldn’t help but take in the music streaming softly from his speakers. It was odd and unsettling.

My happy place; come and see my happy place; come and see…

Jeez, I thought, that guy really listens to some weird shit.


We got the tire on and hit the road once more. The song, to my chagrin, traveled along with me.

My happy place; come and see…

Arriving in Appleton, we parked the Ray in the usual spot and started unloading our tables and tents. We were about halfway through when the ugly yellow neighbor truck rounded the corner and parked annoyingly behind us, waiting to get through. There was no reason he couldn’t have pulled around and backed in, so we kept unloading.

“Hey, are you guys gonna move or what?”

I looked at Logan, shrugged, and pulled forward a bit to let them through. We kept unloading, and they sat, annoyingly, for a minute more. Finally, the driver took the hint and pulled around us, backing his straight truck into his space. It was a basic maneuver. I tried to make small talk with the lady as she unloaded seafood from their unsightly truck.

“So, how’s it going this morning?”

“Well, it woulda been better if you guys’da moved. Yer lucky it was him drivin’. Other guy woulda run ya right over, just like that. Can’t sue if there ain’t no money in it; that’s what the one guy told me.”

For a brief second I entertained the notion of explaining her that you absolutely can sue, regardless of the “money in it,” and reminding her that I’m the one that runs vehicles over on this particular market corner. It was fruitless, however, so I simply shrugged and turned my attention back to stand setup.

My happy place; come and see…


Within the half hour, Monica had our bounty displayed beautifully on our two-tiered tables, and customers started rolling through as she finished out the price cards. The morning gets hectic fast, and I hurriedly organized a cash belt, updated the tablets and started weighing out pound bags of snap peas. We were off to the races, and the next three hours were a steady rush of selling, stocking, spraying, weighing and chatting.

“Well, Monica.” I declared around 11 am. “I’m gonna go get us something greasy to eat.” As I perused the strip, however, I realized I was caught in the craving between greasy and sweet. I decided to stick with my gut, and approached the Crab Rangoon guy. “Hey, do you take cards?”

“Nah man, sorry.”

Crap… I walked a bit further and approached the popsicle stand, abandoning the grease dream in favor of sweet. “Yo, do you take cards by any chance?”

“No, unfortunately we don’t; sorry about that!”

I walked the entire east side of the market before looping back, defeated, to inform Monica that it just wasn’t in the cards for us. A half hour later, however, I renewed my resolve and set out to the west, in search of anything junky and purchasable by plastic. I approached a small stand entitled Frodo that appeared, oddly, to be a simple donut cut in half and filled with ice cream. It was the perfect marriage of grease and sweetness.

“Hey there!” the lady called as I approached. “Are you thinking about Frodo?”

I was. After affirming the details, and that they did indeed accept cards, she got the order in for one of each and we got to some small talk.

“So… is this the original Frodo?”

“Well, not exactly, but we’ve got a license on the name in Wisconsin!”

Good enough for me. I swiped my card and strode back to give Monica the news, and the Frodo.

My happy place; come and see…

A half hour later, we were high on Frodo; a half hour after that, we were packing our tables back into the Ray, and an hour after that we were on that Frodo low, trudging from van to cooler in the scorching sun.

As we wrapped up, Ed bounced over excitedly from wherever he’d been working alone for far too long.

“Hey, I gotta tell you guys this, so there’s an infinite number of numbers, right, like the numbers just keep going forever and ever and ever, right?”


“And prime numbers, too, there’s an infinite number of prime numbers right? How the fuck do you explain that one!?”

Monica and I looked at each other tiredly and trudged on.

My happy place; come and see…