Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Au Revoir, Isabelle

A good friend from the farmer's market is leaving us to help take care of a new grandbaby. We have a wonderful goodbye party at the Laughing Whale--believe me, when a bunch of organic farmers and foodies decide to have a party, they can really bring it! I had the honor of giving her goodbye address--here's an excerpt:

We’re all here today to say goodbye to Isabelle. I know that everyone here is thrilled for her to have this opportunity to be close to grandchildren and to go forth into new adventures. And I know that everyone here is sad for themselves to be saying goodbye. She will be so missed.

When I first moved to Lunenburg six years ago and came to the farmer’s market that spring, I couldn’t believe the line at Vendeene. For weeks, I was too intimidated to join it. My husband and I made jokes about what illicit substances were being dealt out of that little blue cooler. I didn’t understand. Could the bread really be that good? Or was it the charming personality behind the counter? Now I know it was both.

Once I did start standing in that line, Isabelle quickly became the guiding star of the market for me--as she has been for so many others. Her tremendous kindness and diplomacy have come to the fore whenever I have tried to speak French. She’s taken the time to know my family, and share hers with me, especially pictures of her gorgeous granddaughter, Danica. I’d like to think I’m special, but I know she shares herself as lovingly and generously with many, many people. Isabelle has an art for making everyone feel special.

I’ve been asking around about you, Isabelle, in preparation for speaking today. People have told me that you are gifted at making a gorgeous meal out of whatever is in season. And that at every market you arrive and literally dance across the parking lot singing “allo” to everyone there. You know your customers like nobody’s business, and tell them their orders just as often as the other way around. Your hugs last a week—or at least last you for a week! And everyone knows that if you’re feeling down, you should just go talk to Isabelle. She’ll tell you that you look wonderful and smile at you with a twinkle in her eye, and the day will improve.

If every vendor at the market is a bead on a chain, Isabelle has been the clasp that completes the circle. Goodbye, Isabelle. Thank you for being with us while you were with us, and take our love and our blessings into the future, to accompany you wherever you go. To Isabelle!

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