by Theresa (VanderPutten) Byrne

Have you ever been so excited that when bedtime comes, you feel like you couldn’t possibly sleep a wink? When you finally fall asleep, it is a restless tossing and turning while your subconscious is still wide awake….

That was me, age 10, Friday night before the Farmers Market.

I lived and dreamed of the Saturdays that my dad and I would be up, before the rooster crowed, packing the trailer with baked goods, veggies and whatever else we planned to sell.

My sister, Virginia, and I had to take turns on Saturdays but she tended to like her rest more than the thrill of the open market, so many times I could convince her to stay home and let me take her place.

I could feel the excitement down to my fingertips, as we pulled into our selling spot among the other venders.

I was a born saleswoman and I loved people, so this was just ‘my cup of tea!’

I couldn’t understand my sister happily sleeping at home while all this was taking place, but I was glad to have taken her spot!

We would set up our tables and get ready; sales stared at 7:00 am sharp!

As the years passed I established quite a clientele for my baked goods. I hand-painted a sign that said,”Tweety’s Sweeties,” and many an old fellow would dream of Saturday and the fresh apple pies it brought!

I loved being in charge of our stand and my dad had time to wander and build relationships with other vendors, while I wheeled and dealed.

A couple of times we went and picked up trailer loads of watermelons, from the Ozarks, to add to our Saturday sales.

My younger brother got into hand-squeezed lemonade and we would put a big sign on him that said, “Follow me for fresh lemonade.” Then he would wander through the crowds of people and drum up business.

The Farmers Market manager ended up shutting down our superb advertising. I think other vendors were jealous at the amount of business this brown eyed lad brought in! haha

Good, good times! Good, good memories!

A few weeks ago when my Brendan excitedly told me about how Angelo, my youngest brother, was going to have booths and do a sale, all I could see was little me, just waiting for Farmers Market Day!

The day was set; the sale would take place at Grandma’s house. All the cousins were excited and we had two weeks to make our wares.

Devin, my husband, and Brendan decided on sling shots. (Devin makes a wicked sling shot!) They got to work, felling dead and overgrown branches, finding any limbs with a V shape. After trimming off extra leaves they had enough to make thirteen slingshots.

They let the wood dry and about a week later you could find us in our shop, the sander on and camo duct tape ready to go.

Devin cut to size, while Brendan and I sanded and then we all put them together.

This was a bigger task than it sounds but some great family memories were made.


As the day of the sale approached, the kids’ excitement mounted. Just like Christmas, half the fun is preparing for it!

The day before the sale we picked blackberries and Sienna and I made honey blackberry muffins. We wrapped them and priced them at 25 cents apiece.



Yay! The day of the sale had arrived!

At 5:45pm, on Sunday, the fun began. All the parents went traipsing down through the weeds, through some of Grandpa’s junk, down to the far side of my parent’s property. The boys had mowed a spot, set up little booths and a couple small tables for tired buyers….

(Ernie, looking frustrated because he’s last in line and going to miss the great deals! You snooze, you lose, Ernie!  😀  )

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My younger sister ran a concession stand with your choice of drinks, snacks and fruit.


There was a booth of hand blacksmithed knives which were unique and priced to sell.

Then we had a couple booths with small toys and trinkets.

The ice cream lady was down the way and you could get a finger lickin’ cone for 50 cents!


My Brendan’s slingshots sold like hot cakes and he brought in a whopping $6.00!

Sienna’s blackberry muffins spoke to the more health conscious buyers, with Grandpa being her best customer! She sold out and was shopping within ten minutes of opening!

A true girl, she spent every penny she had on her, while Brendan saved back the majority of his earnings.

My nephew, Toni, had set up a game with a bunch of empty shotgun shells on different levels. There was a starting time and by it a bucket of gravel. For 10 cents you got a minute of time to try and knock down all the shells.

You should have heard the laughter as the young (and old) guys tried to outdo each other!


There was even a spot the boys had set up that, if you wanted to chat and chomp on your wares (or smoke a cigar) you could do it at their little outdoor coffee spot!


When our coins ran low, hot and a little bug-bitten, we headed back up to the house.

No amusement park, fair, circus or the like, could have held a candle to the fun the kids and the parents had that day!

Without a doubt, this was a day to remember!

“To be in your children’s memories tomorrow, you have to be in their lives today.”

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“Life is messy, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Busy children trump an immaculate house any day of the week. Does it really matter that my carpet has a juice stain on it, or that my cupboard drawer no longer works because my son thought it was a stepping stool? Things can be replaced, but nothing can replace the feeling of ‘home’ that one gets when a house is bustling with children.” -Darlene Schacht