May 26, 2018
Saturday mornings were considered to be the peak of Ronnie's summer because only during Saturdays, her grandma, her brother, and she would go into town and peek around the local flea market. It was the gem of Shanesburg as local farmers and small businesses would scurry into the small area known as Beech Street Park, and set up their small booths with a different array of purchasable items. Her grandma went to see old friends and buy some of the fresh fruits and vegetables that some of the people provided. Jayson and Ronnie went their normal route of checking out the old antiques and messing around with the older vendors, who just yelled or gave the two siblings an evil eye.
When they arrived at the flea market, a bunch of people was already there. They were clustered like a pack of ants, heading to the ant mound. Ronnie basked in the afternoon sunlight when stepping out of the car while Jayson raced out, dashing to the nearest vendor. Patsy, their grandma, took smaller steps and wasn't in any rush. While walking, she was busy counting the change in her purse, muttering under her breath the total cents she had. Ronnie excused herself from the sunlight and headed over to join Jayson at what looked like a lady selling jewelry.
The lady, who sat in the shade of the booth with a large sunhat over her face, was wearing a white blouse and jean shorts. She wasn't paying much attention to the scheme that her brother was planning and it seemed safe with how careless the lady was, but there was an off chance that her brother could be caught in stealing again.
"Hey, Jayson," she quipped, "let's go over to Mr. Lewson's booth. I bet he has some old trinkets he'll sell to us for a penny."
Jayson, while looking over the different copper and silver items, replied, "Mr. Lewson doesn't like us, all that much since we stole that small clock from him the last time we were here."
"True, what about Miss Magpie?"
Jayson moved from his viewing to the side of the booth. He then picked up a colorful beaded necklace and answered, "I don't think she'll allow us near her booth. Remember when you stole that tacky flamingo?"
Ronnie nodded as the faint memory resurfaced. "I think I gave that flamingo away to someone." She then stepped out of the sun and into the small shade that the booth provided. Her brother had moved on from the colored beaded necklace to a set of rings with different gemstones. He quickly settled on a ring that had a simmering holographic band and pocketed it. Just as he had stuffed it into his pocket, the lady under the sunhat stirred awake. She shifted her body weight on the small stool and glanced over at the two siblings.
"What're you doing?" she asked, her words slurring from just waking up.
Ronnie answered, "We were just looking at the rings. We're leaving now."
The lady got up from the stool and walked over. The sunhat was still covering most of her face but Ronnie could see a glare lurking presently in her hazel eyes.
"One of you stole something," the lady muttered. She then pressed a hand on the ring table, peeking over the different ring stations. She then withdrew her hand and frowned. "If you stole something, give it back."
Jayson rolled his eyes and dug into his pocket, retrieving the ring and placed it gently into her hand. The lady placed the ring back in the station and stood back. She removed the sun hat and placed it to the side of her. There was sweat that formed across her forehead and brown hair now stuck up in different directions.
"What're your names?" she asked, resting her hands on her hips.
Ronnie's brain began to short circuit while Jayson crossed his arms across his chest. "Why are you asking?"
"I'm curious, that's all," she responded.
"Well, I'm Jayson Storkhill and this is my sister, Ronnie Storkhill."
The lady's eyes widen and her mouth formed into an 'o'. She then turned around and went back towards her stool, grabbing a picture frame.
"Are you related to Patsy Storkhill, perchance?"
There were warning lights that sparked inside of Ronnie's brain. The outside noise of the flea market was suddenly drowned out by her heart thumping loudly in her ears. Her thoughts were screaming about trusting strangers with their names.
Jayson nodded. "Do you know her?"
The lady snorted, pulling the photo frame away from her body and smiled fondly at it. "That's a funny question. I guess you can say I did know her." She then walked back to the ring stand and handed the picture frame to Jayson. "This is an old picture of us. Way back before she even had your dad. If she asks who gave you that, tell her that the Hams are ready. She'll know who I am." Once the picture was handed over, the lady went back to her stool and sat down, going back to the same position as when Jayson and Ronnie found her.
It was such a strange request from a stranger that after they left the vendor, Ronnie was still thinking it over. Jayson handed Ronnie the faded grey and white picture and the tarnish picture frame. There was a group of men and woman smiling brightly at the photographer behind the camera. Below the people, Ronnie noticed, was the words 'S.H.B.C Club Picture' in curvy black lettering. What does my grandma have to do with a club? she asked herself.
They spent the rest of their time at a few more vendors. They finished their spree and headed back to the car, where their grandma was waiting. Patsy noticed Ronnie carrying the picture frame and asked, "what do you get there?"
Ronnie looked down and handed it to Patsy. "Some lady. She said to tell you 'the Hams are ready', whatever that means." She then got into the car while her grandma, now staring at the picture with big eyes, stood outside.
Jayson noticed and asked, "what is with the picture that's got her like that?"
Ronnie tried to think of a reason. Maybe it was an old friend who wanted to reconnect? But, why would her grandma cut someone off? It was all perplexing to Ronnie and she only hoped that later on, she'd get answers to all of it.