My intent was to try and post my favorite thing about each day, or at least a most memorable moment. It's all been a tad overwhelming at the Big E, it all gets so jumbled in my head. What needs to be stocked, what needs to be printed, what needs to ship.. where did I leave that. And so on, and so on....
Today was my favorite customer. Her name was Elizabeth and I'm terrible with ages, but I'd say 9 ish if I had to guess. She and her sister were in my booth asking questions about photography, the wildlife I saw and they just got sucked right into it all! This young lady was so polite and soft spoken as she told me how she too, loved wildlife and recognized that she had a gift for interacting with them. She wanted to be photographer too, but admitted honestly that she took awful pictures. I reassured her that I too, when I was her age took terrible photos. We got chatting, sometimes her older sister would chime in while Mom monitored the two girls in my booth and her 6 year old son in the woodworkers' booth next door. He was enamored with a wooden sail boat and kept walking towards his mom with it, yet politely waiting while we spoke and then he'd just step back into the wood booth again. He approached a number of times with that same little boat in his hands, not whining, not being at all impatient, just admiring and waiting as patiently as he possibly could. I was so impressed with these kids who come to find out, were home schooled and lived in CT.
Elizabeth had found an image she loved in the $25 size, my "sunlit mountain lion". It was more expensive than she had hoped and looked through all of my smaller images and note cards hoping to find a less expensive version, with no luck. Her mother said it was recently her birthday and she had $25 to spend. Although she admired the two note cards of the wolf pair and the bobcat, the sunlit mountain lion "spoke to her" and she wanted it so badly. She gave me her $25 birthday money because that's all she wanted. I quietly asked her mom if it would be ok if I gave her the two runner-up cards as a birthday gift and sold her the larger print for $20. I wanted to just give it to her, but you could tell Mom had been very successful in teaching manners, value, finances, etc. I did not want to undermine her efforts and this was a home school field trip. There was much to be taught at the fair and I know this was part of it. After Mom said it was ok, I offered Elizabeth the cards as a gift and told her I wouldn't accept anymore than $20 for the print. She just stared at me in disbelief. I said "that way you still have a bit of your birthday money to spend on something else". She gave me the biggest HUG!!! I asked if she knew why I was doing this and she said "no". I told her, she reminded me so much of myself when I was her age.
We talked about wildlife rehabilitation, how I bottle fed fawns, raccoons, squirrels and she told me how they saved some squirrel babies too. I saw in her, what I felt some 35 to 40 years ago... I knew I was different, but hadn't quite figured out how to express myself yet. She was so sweet and I wish more parents raised their kids with such grace. It makes me think of how far I have come and how grateful I am to be able to do what I love. I had no idea back then, that I would make a career of photography. Kinda funny how things work out.
That, was the highlight of my day!