Vending at farmer’s market involves handling green cashy money. Sometimes lovely, crisp and freshly pressed from the ATM (my favorite) - sometimes, not so lovely - but that’s what Purell is for, isn’t it?
I recently had someone hand me a nasty, crusty, raggedy five – not to pay for anything - but to exchange for a “nicer one”. And you can file that under “Gobsmackingly Awful Things Tourists Have Done To Me”.
Since I don’t want to dole out contagions, I bundle all those damaged and dirty bills into the bank deposit, reserving what’s cleanest to start the drawer for the following market.
(I haven’t gone so far as to wash money; what goes through the laundry is there by accident.)
One sad dollar bill was torn, streaked with smudges, and so well traveled that it was the same texture as lint from the dryer trap. I figured I would be doing it a favor by sending it home to die in the paper elephants’ graveyard, or wherever old bills get sent when they fall apart.
The next week, I bought singles at the bank and received that manky dollar back.
My mind immediately went to “the bad place” where I thought it was stalking me, so I stuffed it into a Mason jar to benefit the Humane Society, casting a vote for Fattest Best Fluffy Cat at the supermarket.
Then, the dollar reappeared. Not that same exact single, but a man approached my husband Dan at farmer’s market and gave him a dollar.
What was that about? Well, I had sold him a $4 piece of cheese for $3 because he was short on cash, on a previous occasion.
Dan was chatting with a farmer who had lost crops in the flood. ‘Here” he said, giving the $1 windfall to our friend. “It’s lucky.” (I mean, what were the odds of being given a random dollar?)
That should have been the end of unexpected ones showing up, if this was merely coincidence or the product of my overactive imagination.
There it was on the ground the next day, in plain sight, a crumpled dollar on the floor at the Hannaford in Swanton! This was too much!
I picked it up and looked around suspiciously as though I was participating in some sort of social experiment – and placed The One in a charity box for the food shelf or United Way or something, I didn’t pay too much attention. I don’t want to know where it’s headed this time; I think it’s better that way.
I realized then what Dan already knew, that it wasn’t our fate to keep “pennies from heaven”, but to pass them on.
I’ve since received a check for a dollar in the mail from a person that didn’t have the right change at the farm, and two dollars were handed to me at farmer’s market for the same reason.
I put three dollars in the Hannaford “Nothing Can” on the counter, just to keep things balanced in our personal universe.