WANDERING around the Trash and Treasure markets at Jamison, I saw a little tray (pictured) that I told myself if it was still there when I was leaving it was meant to be mine.
It was a particular shade I like and had beautiful, laughing kookaburras on it, a bird that I love for its seeming optimism and cheekiness. It can break into laughter and suddenly things can seem so much lighter in the world.
I went back and the little tray was still there, but the man who ran the stall was in conversation with a woman. I loitered nearby with the $3 tray in hand, he caught my eye and acknowledged me but also conveyed that the conversation he was having should not be interrupted.
I soon realised why. The woman speaking had just come back to the market after a period away, she was explaining that her husband had passed away and this was her first visit back without him.
The stallholder listened and told her what a nice man her husband had been and I could see that meant a great deal to her.
After their conversation had finished and she moved off he took my $3 and I said I had overheard some of their conversation and he had handled it so well.
He told me that the woman’s husband had had dementia but she brought him to the market every week and that was a significant outing for both of them.
I was so impressed with his empathy and with her loyalty and resilience. The tray with the kookaburras with their beaks open with laughter now sits in our bathroom and symbolises that meaningful encounter. Three dollars well spent.
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