Friday, November 26, 2010

Fair Trade Market Day

Oh my goodness it was cold today. I took two llamas, Pebbles and Lala; and four alpacas, Eileen and her boy, Whitman, Paris and Eureka out into the community. Our Artisan Guild had been asked to provide demonstrations for the Manchester United Methodist Church annual Fair Trade Market in Ballwin, MO.
I brought animals -- to help support the work of the South American artisans who were selling hats, scarves and such. It was 27 degrees when we arrived. In fact, you can see the remnants of the Thanksgiving snow in the photos.
There were many great questions and much joy in sharing the stories of these wonderful animals. Michelle and Kristie, who volunteer at my farm, came to help. They showed the animals to visitors and talked about llamas and alpacas in general. You can see how much fun they had sharing their knowledge. And little Whitman, with his head lying on his mama's back -- how adorable is that?
My two llamas spent much of the day gazing intently at the cemetary. At first I thought they were seeing a fox or squirrel. Then I wondered if they were seeing the small flags flapping in the breeze. I didn't think it was either of those things, but found it puzzling that they kept looking in that direction -- as though they had seen something.
Now comes the "blessed" moment.
A woman was at the cemetary (that you can see in the background of the pictures) that is on the church property. She placed flowers on a grave there. Then she drove over to where I was with the animals and talked to me for a brief moment. She began telling me that she visits the cemetary every day.
In the course of our conversation I discovered that her 11-year-old daughter was diagnosed with leukemia on March 19, 2010. In September she died from the cancer and the subsequent harsh treatment to try to cure the disease. We stood and cried -- mother-to-mother -- about her loss. I have not seen such palpable grief in a person in a long, long time. She said she put yellow and purple flowers on her daughter's grave -- because her daughter loved purple. The holidays have already been impossible for her.
Jack and I have not lost a child -- but we did lose a grandchild in March 2000. She was a twin to our Ashley, little Jessica. Ashley made it -- Jessica did not. I miss her every day.
This stranger and I spoke quietly for a long, long time. Then she said she was leaving. I told her that I would watch over her daughter since I would be there all day.
Llamas are such compassionate beings. I know they knew about her daughter. They, too, were watching. Rest in peace, little girl.

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