Chance encounters or serendipity strikes again
It's 8 am, give or take a few. I'm still in my pajamas, (been up since 0530)sipping coffee, listening to music and perusing Facebook. Di asks, " are we going to the farmer's market this morning?"
I think, has something changed since we discussed this last night? But I say, yes. It's Thursday isn't it? Sometimes, too often for my liking, I forget what day it is, especially when on vacation.
The Englewood, Fl. Farmers market on Dearborn St. is open from 9 am 'til 2 pm on Thursdays. http://allaboutenglewood.com/farmers-market/englewood-farmers-market.html
At 9 am we slide into our '96 Buick Regal (<58,000 miles) and merge into the bumper to bumper traffic on rt. 776 (south McCall Rd,) and drive the 5 miles to Dearborn St., hoping to find a parking spot in the Vino Loco parking lot; since we will lunch here after they open at 1100. We park at Vino Loco, grab our canvas carry bags and stroll a few blocks to the area where the venders are arrayed. It's 78 degrees, the sky is clear and the sun is deepening the tan on my face and bald head. The crowd is like a carnival midway as we wind our way to our first stop; one of the three fresh baked bread stalls, and our favorite. Then it's a bumble-bee line, past the guitar player,to the end of the main thoroughfare to grab a small bag of grapefruit. Next we retrace our disjointed path, trying to avoid bumping into other oblivious shoppers, and make a left turn at the guitar man's corner to find the line, waiting at our second favorite stop; the cheese vender. We meander around checking out the other stalls, make one last stop to fill our bag with fresh veggies ending back on Dearborn St.. A glance at my new Garmin watch, while depositing our purchases in the car, informs me we have over an hour before our lunch venue opens it's doors. Making our way west on Dearborn toward the Gulf of Mexico, Diane spies the magnet lure of an antique shop. "Go on,"I say, "I'll saunter down the street, a couple of blocks, and check out the cigar shop your cousin Dale mentioned." After our usual delectable lunch at Vino Loco, http://www.vinolocowine.com, we amble a short block down the street, enjoying the, now, 80 degree sunshine with a slight breeze to make it comfortable, to sit in front of a newly opened coffee shop/espresso bar. I flick my bic, suck the flame to the tip of my recently purchased Tatiana rum flavored cigar 'til it's burning on it's own. Ahhh, indulging in a few drags on my, allotted, one a week cigar, just enough to get a good nicotine hit, I suggest we go in and sample the coffee.
"Hi,"Diane says to the man sitting 2 stools over to our left, "are you from Englewood?"
During the winter months the population of Englewood, if not the whole of Florida, must easily double from the influx of snowbirds like ourselves. Most of whom, at least the 672 folks we've met in the last month, are retirees or close to it. Conversation is the highlight of chance encounters and usually start up with some semblance of the questions; where are you from? How long are you here for? And so it was....
Meaning; do you live here year round?
"Yes." He replies.
"Do you know where the Buddhist monks are building their monastery?" She asks. "We've heard it's somewhere here near Dearborn."
" yes I do, he offers, they haven't built anything yet, but here, let me show you." He takes takes out his Samsung phone and brings up a map and points to a wooded area not far, he points out, from right here where we are." With his finger, he traces the route, street by street, to give us a Google eye view of where the monastery will be, and says; "it'll be a couple of years before they get it done. They've cleared a few trees, but that's it."
Diane explains, "we met 3 of them 2 weeks ago walking toward us right here on Dearborn."
"Yes, he says, they have a route they walk every day. If you Google the forest monks of Sarasota, you can go to their web site and it will show you the route they take. https://www.facebook.com/Sarasota-Forest-Monastery-705418619593963/ Amazing isn't it, he adds, doing this everyday to get your daily food?"
"What do you mean, we ask, blurting out our ignorance. They weren't begging when we saw them."
"Oh no, he says, they don't beg. People offer them food, and when their alms bowl is full they return to where they live. The food must be ready to eat, not raw or needing cooking; like say if you wanted to give them some fish, or rice and such, it must be cooked."
"If they haven't built their place yet, where do they live?" Diane asks.
"They stay in a private home." He explains where the home is located, but I'm still unsure exactly where it's located. It's nearby,I know that.
"Where do you live?" He asks.
"Upstate New York."
"On the St. Lawrence River, the Canadian border."
"Thousand islands area."
"Morristown, New York."
"Is that near Watertown?"
"Yes, 50 miles north east of Watertown," we say.
" Where are you from," we ask.
"Rochester, New York."
I tell him, "I work just an hour south of Rochester."
Somehow, as the conversation progresses, we start talking about kayaking, an activity dear to my heart.
" I've written a book about kayaking the waterways of New York", he says.
"Really, I say, impressed. Have you paddled the Adirondack 90 Miler."
"No, he says, I keep my focus on central to western New York. The Adirondacks have been well covered by other authors."
"What's the title of your book?" Diane asks.
"Actually I've written 13 books about western New York; on hiking, kayaking, bicycling, snowshoeing, anything that takes you on the hidden byways and their natural treasures."
"What's your name?" Diane asks.
"He says, "just Google Rick and Sue and we'll come up."
Later when we get back home, I did just that and it wasn't quite as easy as just searching "Rick and Sue" but eventually I was led to their books and their fascinating story. If you want to surf around the net, type in Rich and Sue Freeman, or follow this url: