Paul has made friends with the owner of a convenience store near the Nashville Farmers Market. Over the years of taking the children on walks in the adjacent Bicentennial Mall, he found this little refreshment stop. As their friendship unfolded, details of our life were shared and it came to pass that this man wanted some of our farm’s lamb. Not in the traditional cut and frozen kind of delivery. Nope, that would be easy. This man wanted a live lamb (or more) delivered to his shop to coincide with a high Islamic holiday.
Now, I am somewhat familiar with our world’s religions. Having traveled extensively throughout Asia i have spent time surrounded by folks who make offerings to Ganesha the elephant God and pilgrims spinning prayer wheels high in the Himalayas. I have heard Islam’s call to prayer from mosques surrounding me on all sides and was lucky in my twenties to have witnessed all types of amazing rituals. It was no surprise to me that this man wanted a live lamb. Paul and I lived in Indonesia in the 1990’s and could easily recall the holidays throughout this most populated Muslim nation as millions celebrated Eid Al Adha, the festival of sacrifice, making offerings in remembrance of Abraham’s willingness to offer his son to God.
Back to the story of my husband and the man from the convenience store. As things unfold we realize quickly there were two issues. One: this urban shop owner actually has limited access to a shepherd willing to deliver him a live ram. Two: we castrated all of our ram lambs making them unsuitable for this man’s needs. sheesh. I was done. but Paul was not.
What does Paul do? He arranges to purchase a pair of uncastrated male lambs from our neighbor and spends hours crafting a beautiful wooden transport crate to fit perfectly into our van (of course we would transport the lambs along with our family and CSA delivery to Nashville before dawn on a Saturday) Paul was un -stoppable, and while i know better than to attempt to stop him, i did point out the exercise seemed ridiculous. We are not very good at being the “middle man”. We exclusively sell our own product. For this effort, how this was arranged, we will receive, according to my calculations, NOTHING.
Saturday morning dawned, we awoke earlier than usual in order to load the lambs. I was full of doubt but enjoyed the success of heading off the farm with all we had hoped . Two hours later, when we pulled into the designated meeting point and I saw the man’s face light up the still dark sky, I understood why Paul did this. I felt such pride in my man. He wanted to help his acquaintance achieve the unachievable, and he did. The personal, professional, and cultural significance of this exchange was pure joy.
We drove our van to the usual spot in the farmers market to unload and start our weekly CSA delivery day, our friend, drove in the opposite direction to celebrate with his community and so our days began.