I started out just packing up my truck and taking it to market but soon discovered I needed more room, especially now that we're filling lots of orders through the Friends & Farmers Cooperative online market. Nearly 100 pounds of potatoes + pies + eggs + cookies + tent + table + weights, etc. isn't really what a CRV was built for. My farmer advised me to learn how to drive one of the white box trucks they use on the farm for markets, deliveries and such. He said if I felt comfortable behind the wheel, I could use it by myself for every market instead of waiting until June or so until the family joins me with additional produce.
At first, I felt a little uneasy about it. In my mind, I remembered the truck being much bigger than it actually is. I was picturing myself behind the wheel of a mack with black smoke rolling out behind me. But I started thinking to myself, "If you're going to live on a farm for the rest of your life, you can't let a truck intimidate you." So we made a date night out of my maiden voyage in the truck (I know, so romantic!) and drove to Lock Haven and back, plus a little extra. We drove on highway and back country roads, parking lots and teensy weensy neighborhood lanes. I even spent a solid half an hour aligning the truck up to a loading dock at a supermarket over and over. At one point during the evening, Mark said something along the lines of,
"I couldn't have done that any better myself," and I felt my heart swell with pride.
It isn't so much learning how to drive the truck itself; it's what the truck represents to me. That truck is a symbol of the trust between Mark's family and me. A woman has never driven a vehicle on the farm until now, let alone one of the market trucks.
I don't even share their last name yet, but Mark's father didn't hesitate when it came to adding my name to the insurance so that I can drive the farm vehicles. I don't know how to begin to describe how that feels.
It may not seem significant, but to me it means the world.
Then for a time, I thought I had finally found the perfect union of creativity, teamwork and independence at my last bakery job.
It was a small artisan bakery with only a handful of employees, so there was often a mix of working together and working alone. I remember one of the first times I helped with bread production and I quickly caught on to shaping the loaves. There were three of us working on the same bench at times, each with his or her own particular touch, but all of us moving deftly through each step - a well choreographed ballet of adrenaline, focus and flour. Perhaps I'm idealizing it now, but there are moments when I miss that and I wish it could have lasted. Or rather, that it had actually existed the way I describe it. In reality, I was rarely helping with bread production because I was the girl and therefore, I belonged in the pastry corner. I wish the whole experience hadn't been undercut by disorganization, unprofessionalism and testosterone laden bouts of competition and harassment.
But it's useless to yearn for something that never was.
Thus far, I'm truly enjoying my new position behind the wheel, feeling all Furiosa as I drive the war rig...I mean box truck, from market to market. Don't worry, I don't actually drive Mad Max style. I only drive that way in my mind :) Even though the season is just beginning, I have high hopes for this new adventure. I'm learning something new everyday. Everyday, my eyes open a bit wider, my timidity diminishes that much more and my faith in the future deepens.
This rookie is ready for what comes next.