“On what ferry are the deer brought back?” or “What time do the bears come out?” and “Was the fish caught fresh?” but also “How many real people live on the island?”
With visitors” questions like the above it is hard not to reopen the Island Market every spring and be there all summer just anticipating the next question which might be the all time best one.
Also, being behind the Market counter is an educational experience. It took a while but Serena finally learned that people do not read signs. She did everything but post signs upside-down or written in Russian and for the most part her words were ignored. (An exception: One handsome clever thoughtful fellow did use a shopping basket for his purchase of one green lime. Serena praised him and, of course, smiled.)
I learned to not chat while a customer is writing a check. ( It leads to forgetting to sign the check.)
Serena learned exactly where to place a book for a quick sure sale. (We wonʼt reveal that secret.)
I learned (again) that it is not possible to guess correctly on ordering dairy or newspapers. If I order cases of skim milk the next weekʼs customers will be whole milk consumers. In June I try to figure if the people here in the third week of July will be readers. And will they want USA Today or NYT. (I strike out often so Mikeʼs pigs get some milk.)
We both learned our customers are generous. Serena has been treated to homemade ice cream, smoked fish dip, tabouli, and chili-stew. Each time she smacked her lips with pleasure and enjoyed them all. She again says thanks!
We learned some customers have abulia. (Thatʼs the inability to make a decision.) They ask, “What fish is your favorite?” or “Which cookie do you like?” or “What wine do you drink?” Generally, we reply, “Nope. Your decision.”
Finally, we learned each day is a new adventure. We learned to expect observations and questions. (See the beginning of this piece…)