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  • Writer's pictureTina

A Visitor

People are brought into our lives at the time they are needed. I am a firm believer that each person we encounter and interact with is brought into our lives for a divine purpose. I am not a believer in chance or luck. I am a believer in fate. Today is an exciting day. Today, I have a visitor coming, and I am greatly looking forward to seeing him.

In May of 2016, I took the jump and attended my first show. The show I attended was a long-standing, local venue. It was my first attempt at selling my soaps directly to the public. I had worked very hard to prepare for this show. I had spent weeks painting wooden crates, researching set-ups and displays, getting necessary equipment, even watching tutorial sales videos. I was excited, hopeful, and a newbie. I envisioned crowds of people, selling out of my products, and banking a small fortune. I struck gold, but not in the material sense.

As I was setting up the night before the big day, an RV pulled into the parking lot near my car. A lone man got out, slowly and meticulously unpacked his vehicle using a hand cart. As I made numerous trips in and out of the building, I watched this man out of the corner of my eye. This man had a method and was well prepared and very obviously experienced when setting up a sales booth. He brought a tent inside. I thought, well, that's odd. Next, he brought in a grid system. I observed and took note of his belongings. He had organized bins, a tall directors chair, and was methodical about unpacking his vehicle. I, on the other hand, carried in wooden crates, armload after armload. I had a ragtag lot of mismatched plastic containers, a mishmash of tables, and a ton of wooden crates. As I sat in the center of my self created chaos, this man approached my bean and struck up a conversation with her.

To say red flags went up is an understatement. I went into immediate stranger danger mode and rushed to my beans side. I was thinking, what adult male in his right mind drives an RV and talks to children? A serial killer, that's who. Just an FYI, I'm extremely protective of my child and see monsters around every corner. Perhaps I watch too many crime shows. Anyhow, this man seemed to take to my daughter immediately. After speaking with him for a few minutes, I hustled Jordan back over to my space and quietly told her to stay with me and not go anywhere near that man.

Little did I know, this man would have a major role in putting me on the path I am on today. As the event wore on, I learned several important lessons. I also struck up a friendship with the imagined RV driving serial killer. This man has a name, Bill Gillard. Bill is from Florida. He and his wife make organic jewelry in the off-season and Bill spends his summers driving all over the country going to festivals, vendor shows, and artisan fairs. He is an expert at setting up a sales booth and has spent more than a decade doing this. Not only is he an expert on vendor shows, but he is also open and willing to share his information. He spent hours with me, giving me advice, critiquing my booth, creating a list of necessary items, and sharing his wealth of information.

Bill and I have kept in touch over the years. I receive random messages of encouragement from him. He checks in with my family and has a fondness for Jordan because she has an uncanny resemblance to his now-adult daughter. We keep each other updated on major life events and business. Today will be the second time he has come to the farm to visit, and we are all excited to see him. Even GramBarb is coming to spend a few hours with him as he takes a break from making his trek across the east coast.

I am so grateful fate introduced me to Bill. I am even more grateful for Bill's openness and willingness to share insight, experience, and information. I credit him with helping me to get started and am appreciative he saw something in me that he felt was worthwhile. I think of Bill as a mentor and friend, and I feel blessed our paths crossed.

As always, dear reader, stay safe, be smart, appreciate fate, and keep washing those hands.

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