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Job Charming

Remember that thing in my Killing Frogs post about the mythical Job Charming? Omigod, you guys, I think I met mine. (I mean, besides "author," of course.) I was blown away by the sheer joy of the legendary Robert and family of the Robert Is Here produce market in Homestead, Florida.

We happened to stay just a short drive from Robert on our trip to the Everglades, and my parents had heard of his famous produce market, so we visited. It was one of the highlights of the trip. Robert started selling produce when he was a little boy. His father sold produce by the roadside but got more business when his cute little son was there handing out the cucumbers. So when Robert came along, he would put up a sign that said "Robert is here." The habit stuck, and now Robert is a middle-aged guy with a beard and a big, happy family who ooze contentment as they sort, squeeze, describe, taste, and slice all kinds of tropical fruits and vegetables--and share samples of their favorites with the travelers from all over the world who come inside.

The flavors we discovered were unbelievable. I thought Meijer had good produce--whoa! Nothing compares to homegrown, subtropical harvests.

And behind the produce stand, the family keeps a pen full of raucous farm animals. They gather chicken eggs when they feel like it and sell those laid by the geese and emu. The animals eat leftover produce and have affection lavished on them from Robert's folks and customers. As a result, they are the friendliest, least aggressive, and--this was the most amazing part to me--most fresh-smelling bunch of barnyard animals I have ever met! Even the kids' petting zoo at my local Potter Park smells like, well, a zoo. And you'd think with notoriously grody animals like geese, goats, and emu that there would at least be a whiff of funk. But no! It's like each one of them had been hand-bathed in baby shampoo.

The baby goats are the cutest.

I want one OMG!

I know that farm labor is no walk in the park. But it's the kind of hard work that seems so satisfying to me. I'm itching to get outside and dig up my garden beds once the Michigan ground thaws enough. The soreness of working the muscles required to dig and plant is a wholesome, pleasurable ache, not at all like the dull pain after sitting in an office chair all day. It makes me feel more alive, more capable, more strong, not less. Creating and selling my own living things from the earth--things that sustain life and bring flavor and color and surprise and delight--that is my ultimate fantasy.

Well, you know, with writing novels on the side.

But jobs, like princes, don't just show up out of a dream and whisk you away. Tomorrow, I'll be returning to one of my writing groups after vacation and getting back into the rhythm of writing and editing. And this weekend, I'll be in my backyard, sinking my shovel into the soil of my suburban lawn. I'll start where I can.

Blogging friends, are you still visiting the Nutshell after my break? What's your Job Charming? And what baby steps are you taking to make your dreams come true?


  1. Job Charming is ultimate famous blogger/writer being able to just be raw and dirty and funny all rolled into one. If not that...then a highly respected porn star.

  2. Now there is a career worth working toward! Practice makes perfect. Haha.

  3. This was fascinating! I want some of that produce, and strangely enough, I want to smell the animals!


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