Ten days before Easter
The '30s red Plymouth pick-up backed smoothly and silently into the loading dock at the BreadBasket SuperStore. Out hopped a beautiful young woman with almost waist-long blonde hair, a pair of kaki safari shorts, a completely unbuttoned unbleached white cotton shirt with rolled-up sleeves and a pair of comfortable tan hiking shoes without socks, nothing else.
She sprinted up the stairs, entered the service door and through the back store and into the store, proper. There, she met up with the head cashier.
"Hi, Selena ... is Sandy around?"
"Oh, hi, Debra ... you're early. Yes, she's in the office. Go right in."
"Thanks. Oh, while I think of it, will you be sending Juanita to the resort during Easter Break again this year?"
"Yes, if you don't mind."
"Not at all. I was speaking with Mary Silvers the other day ... I might set up regular horse rides for the day-care set. Juanita could help out Melissa ride herd on the youngsters."
"That would be great. Why don't you give me your grocery list; I'll start on it while you're speaking with Sandy."
"Oh, that would be wonderful. Here ... I'll see you later."
Debra walked on to the front of the store and entered the office next to the cash registers.
"Hi Sandy ... I was wondering if I could ask you something?"
"Oh, hi, Debra. Is it that time already?"
"No, I'm early. I needed to talk to you."
"Yeah, Dad was thinking of holding a barbecue for City Hall people around Easter weekend but, rather than the traditional western barbecue, he wants something different. Chef Jacques was telling Dad that in Northern Africa, they have what they call a 'Méchoui'. They roast a whole sheep or a lamb on a spit but Chef Jacques prefers the way they do it in Quebec, with a roast suckling pig; lamb has frequently a greasy taste ... all that lanolin, you know, and apparently, mutton is even worse. Anyway, to cut this short, I was hoping that you could order a suckling pig for me, say for the Wednesday before Easter?"
"I think that should be possible. I'll call it in and I'll give you the answer tomorrow. Will that be okay?"
"I think that would be perfect."
"Speaking of your Dad, how's he holding up?"
"Oh, he's having a ball, poking his nose in everywhere. He's like a kid with a new toy. I think he misses the truck, though."
"Is that so?"
"Yeah, the other day, we were talking about Bill White and the conversation drifted to Bill's Oldsmobile 88. You could almost see the wistful expression on his face. Don't say anything but my boyfriend and I are preparing a surprise ... he hangs out with a bunch of antique car fanatics. He heard from a friend of his that somewhere, a friend of a friend found a 1923 Stanley Steamer and was willing to sell it to us for a song. The engine isn't worth salvaging but another friend can get his hands on a Pelland Steamer engine block from South Australia. We're hoping to mount the Pellandine engine block in the Stanley Steamer chassis and get the whole thing working for his 50th birthday."
"That sounds like a fun project. If ever you need some funds, let me know and I'll see if I can't get a pot going. Bu I want to ask you something about what we talked about earlier, that barbecue thingy..."
"The méchoui... ? What about it?"
"The other day, a customer ... somebody new; I've never seen him before, asked if I knew a local source for halal foods or something like that. He and his wife spoke French. I've been to New Orleans a couple of times so I recognised it; I guessed they came from Algeria, Morocco or Lebanon, something like that. Anyway, I was wondering if you could ask Chef Jacques if he knew what that was."
"Sure, I'll ask him."
Just then, Selena came into the office.
"I've got your order all ready, Debra ... it's out on the loading dock."
"Oh. Thanks, Selena. I guess I lost track of the time. Well ... gotta run. I'll get back to you about that halal thing. See you..."
At Josie's stand at the Farmers' Market, Chuck was officiating, as usual.
"Hi, Chuck ... How's Josie?"
"Oh, she's as happy as a pig in slop. She just putters around in her kitchen garden, takes care of her rabbits and runs the old man ragged ... You'd think he didn't know the first thing about farming."
Debra chuckled. "I know what you mean ... sometimes, Dad is like that as well."
Chuck laughed as well. "What can I do for you today?"
"Not that much, actually ... a couple of dozen head of Boston, a braid of garlic, a twenty pound bag of spring onions and some fresh fennel and basil."
"Okay ... I just received a load of fresh peas; can I offer you some?"
"That sounds good; I'll take ten pounds."
"No, that'll be it ... I'll see you tomorrow. Say hello to your family, will you?"
After Chuck's assistant had helped carry the green-goods into the pick up, she waved at him and drove downtown and the harbour. Parking the truck next to Paco's Fish Market, she hopped out again and made her way to the pier, waving at a friend from High School in passing.
"Hola, Chico... ¿Como esta?"
"Hola, Debra... I'm fine, how are you?"
"Couldn't be better. How's your father?"
"Well, he's out of intensive care. They moved him to a rehabilitation center two days ago. He's walking and he's feeding himself but the stroke must have touched his speech center; he can't talk anymore. He tries but the sound just doesn't come out."
"That's too bad."
"I spoke to the doctor again last night; there's a good chance that he'll speak again ... he just has to learn how to go about it all over again. It could have been worse..."
"What can I get you?"
"I'll take twenty pounds of shrimp, ten pounds of snapper and twenty pounds of tuna, please?"
"I wouldn't recommend the tuna ... it's all right for fish sticks but not good enough for Jacques. However, I do have some marlin that would make for some excellent steaks."
"Very well, twenty pounds of marlin, then."
"Okay ... anything else?"
"No, that's it, gracias. ¡Hasta la luego!"