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Farmers' Market

Once upon a time, there was a straw hat. This straw hat once hung forlornly on a peg in a white-washed thrift store. But one February day, a loud family with a heap of kids burst into the store and began to explore it like a treasure-filled cave. After a while, the family subsided and was about to depart, when the oldest girl saw the hat as he bore the company of a gaudy green necklace who was celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. Her invisible eyebrows rose up to her hairline, and her jaw descended only slightly. Her hand moved forward, as if in a greeting, and plucked the straw hat from its peg. She put the hat over her bright red hair and zipped the bead up its string so that it nestled under her chin.

Many months later, the sun was shining outside, and the hat dangled complacently in a row of old and comfortable hats and coats. A breeze rushed by and went out the door—it was the hat’s owner. His red-haired owner had been rushing in and out the door for several minutes now, carrying out a new load each time. His time would come soon, the hat knew; she always grabbed him last minute. Sure as the wind blows, a hand took hold of him suddenly, and he was whisked onto his familiar bed of hair. The hat took the jostling ride towards the navy-blue van, Mr. Knightley. Then he was inside Mr. Knightley, and the door slammed shut. Now a peaceful ride to the farmers’ market.

An hour later, the straw hat was sitting complacently on his own head, surveying the scene of farmers’ market. Below him, his owner was absorbed in an old green book having to do with scarlet daffodils; to his right, a fellow hat, Australian-style, was slouched over its owner’s head. (The Australian hat’s owner also had red hair, because he was the brother of the straw hat’s owner. It is certainly a small world, as they say.) Beyond and behind the straw hat sprawled a busy scene of many-colored canopies and vegetable-laden tables. It was rather like those pictures one sees of encamped medieval tournaments, only there were farmers instead of knights, jousting in a blood-free fight for customers.

Every once in a while, the hat’s owner began to giggle or whisper to the adjoining person, and occasionally she would rise from her chair to wander the market. That’s when the real activity began for the hat. Up and down he went, a straw wave upon its sea of hair. Besides that, his owner continually loosened him from her head, and down he would go to hang upon her back. Then a little later—up he went again and was secured tightly.

But every day must end. The straw hat did not much care how the day’s sales had been, nor whether its owner had remembered to bring business cards or not. He only knew that soon he would be tossed onto Mr. Knightley’s dashboard, and would bathe peacefully in the sun’s rays as the humans drove Mr. Knightley home. Then he would rest once again, reclining from his hook until his services should be required at the next farmers’ market.

~Ariana, the second oldest.

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