Magic Jumping Beans at the Royal Medieval Faire
I arrived in Waterloo Park early in the morning with a backpack and a large beach umbrella. As the other vendors busily set up their booths, I simply stuck the umbrella into the ground and sat down. I was ready to go. After all, the only thing that I would be selling that day would be Magic Jumping Beans.
I looked around for familiar faces. None. Jenny wouldn't be arriving for another hour. And then, I saw A, a young girl no older than 5 or 6 years old who had kept me company at last year's Faire. "Hey! Remember me?” She eyed me suspiciously and kept on walking. “I’m the jumping bean guy!” Now she started veering away from me. I looked around and sighed. Hopefully nobody would think there was a child predator dressed up in a medieval monk's costume wandering around the park.
So I sat down at my booth and began the day selling my Magic Jumping Beans. A couple of hours later, A. hopped up to the table and looked at me carefully. Then she broke out into a smile. “Hey! I remember you! You’re the jumping bean man! You gave me jumping beans! But I lost them somewhere." Children are funny that way.
Her sticky fingers held a plastic cup full of pink lemonade. She plopped it down on the table as she played with the jumping beans. After a while, she announced, “I’ll be right back!” and ran off. Her lemonade sat forgotten on the table, as condensation and wasps gathered around it.
Half an hour later, she came back clutching a toonie in her hand. "I’d like some beans please!" And I gave her a small container. She examined the beans carefully and excitedly ran off. I turned to Jenny and laughed. She had forgotten to pay, but I had been planning on giving her some beans anyway, just for keeping me company. She returned a few minutes later. "Oops, I forgot to pay you!" and she pressed a toonie into my hand before scampering off again. A few minutes later she was back. "I forgot my lemonade!"
It was these kinds of exchanges that made the day so much fun and reminded me why I love working with youth-- even the forgetful ones. Throughout the day, children would come to the booth and stare at the Magic Jumping Beans with wonder and are absolutely captivated by the little tremors and hops that come and go randomly. And even a teenage boy, after initially scoffing at the beans, reluctantly came to the table and soon found himself fascinated by the strange beans and asked all sorts of questions.
At the end of the day, we folded up the umbrella and walked home. I suppose little weekend activities like these little experiments in combining money with... well, fun. Hopefully, these opportunities will become larger and more frequent. And perhaps one day I'll find myself making a career out of having fun.
Click here to see more pictures from the Faire.