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The International Writers Magazine: Living in San Francisco

Rainy Day Memories
Michael Chacko Daniels 
The wind shakes the aluminum frame of Rainbow Orchard’s stand within range of Simon Bolivar’s sword at San Francisco’s Heart of the City Farmers’ Market.

farmers

I go through the plastic crates at the back for the apple culls on sale for 50 cents a pound. They have been tossed and knocked around. A little bit like me. Perfect for applesauce.

The wind whips up; the canopy buckles. I duck—just in time! “Fold it,” says the market’s manager who happens to be walking by just then. “Better to get wet than crack your heads . . .”

Rain? Wind? Storm? All I can think of is: applesauce.
That’s with cinnamon and cranberries, minus the added sugar.

With a light touch, I select four large organic apples. Pay three quarters, two dimes, and a nickel. At the stand of the man with the hat, the man who says he doesn’t use pesticides because they are expensive, I buy broccoli, tomatoes, and carrots.

Rain pours down; I pause between the yellow and purple potatoes. I am in the way of the woman who wants to get to the onions; and then a man squeezing past for the yams.

The mild, mid-week, cloistered chaos of the Library’s main branch across the street looks inviting. I take the rear entrance, walk fast past the Library’s discount bookstore with my green bags of produce, reminding myself: No more permanent residents in my one-room dwelling.

Exiting, twenty minutes later with a DVD of The Caine Mutiny, a memory tugs away at me from fifty years ago: the intrepid vendor who came to the old neighborhood in Bombay, his lending-library-in-a-trunk precariously balanced on his head as he climbed the steep stairs.

He was my sole source for the latest westerns. And then one week, without warning, he stopped coming. He had saved enough money to open a shoe-box-sized lending library opposite St. Michael’s High School. His rates were no longer affordable; you had to be working to afford them.

The rain stops. Time for a little heliolatry and people watching, walking past the Orpheum’s matinee crowd lining up for Wicked. But, I can’t stop feeling the much-touched books, the dollar-specials in the bookstore.

            Branded with red dot
Zane Grey Rides Again, on sale
            Near the Romances

© Michael Chacko Daniels June 2010
mchackod@pacbell.net

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Michael Chacko Daniels is a former community worker and clown who grew up in Bombay, India. His past adventures include five years as a Volunteer In Service To America, four as editor/publisher of the New River Free Press of Grand Rapids, MI, and 16 running the Jobs for Homeless Consortium. He lives and works in San Francisco. His writing has appeared in Apollo's Lyre, Cricket Online Review, Denver Syntax, dragonfire, Eclectica, Grey Sparrow Journal, Hackwriters, Popular Ink, Quicksilver, SHALLA Magazine, and The Battered Suitcase. Writers Workshop, Calcutta, has published three of his books: Split in Two (Poetry, 2004), Anything Out of Place Is Dirt (Novel, 2004), and That Damn Romantic Fool (Novel, 2005). Website: http://indiawritingstation.com/

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