Peters Traces His RootsOctober, 1994

Page 67

In Search of... Chickens

Saturday, our objective was Talsi and its flea market, about 30 kilometers away. Ruta wanted to buy six chickens, and we were glad to take her. I was hoping to buy some "native" souvenirs. When we arrived, it was already crowded. We were afraid we might have missed the best shopping.

I couldn't help but notice how my mom and her sister Laura spent a lot of time walking arm in arm, the way they used to when they were children, wherever they went. (Popular opinion was that they were sewn together!)

Pretty soon, though, Ruta (ahead, with the gray bag) was saying our quest looked grim.

On to the market in Talsi!
Taking our time (that my mom and Laura on the right)
Page 68
Grim verdict... no chickens

Two years ago, we would have seen mostly local farmers with poultry, livestock and farm products. Need a scythe handle? You would have had a choice of half a dozen. Now, it's odd lots from the U.S. and cheap junk from the Far East at outrageous prices: Sears childrens' jackets, one size only, forty dollars; plastic alphabet blocks, five dollars. We still found some local crafts: I bought a sofa cover set for Laura, a couple of mugs, and a wood box. The hand-turned box was plain and relatively expensive (the mugs were 80 cents; the box, 6 dollars). But a nice old couple were selling their crafts, and I was happy to buy something from them. These days, people who actually produce anything are on the bottom of the economic ladder. I hope that changes soon.

As for our quest: 3 turkeys, 2 pigs, but no chickens among the open car trunks. Birdless, we head for the local department store.

Every town has a "Universalveikals"

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