The only day of the week I’m guaranteed off work: Saturday. The day of the week I look forward to the most: Saturday. Coincidence? Not at all.

The weekend to-do list continues to grow throughout the week and once Saturday hits, it’s time to check things off. Laundry, vacuuming, cleaning the bathroom…these chores will always be put on hold until after my weekly visit to the Western Fair Farmers’ Market.

Whether you stop at the market for produce, fresh breads or meats and cheeses, there is always going to be something that keeps you there longer than you planned. The coffee shop, ice cream counter or various vendors upstairs just call out for you to wander your morning (and afternoon!) away.

I’m always searching for books from my must-read list, or for inspiration for my next scrapbooking layout. My boys request our special weekend dinner of pizza or meat pies. And every visit must include a quick stop for the best brownies ever. The market takes care of all these for us.

But to be honest, the best thing about going to the market is the time spent walking around by myself, or if I’m lucky, with a good friend.

I love listening to the different buskers each week — singers or musicians playing guitars, cellos or saxophones. My five-dollar-bill is always ready in hand to drop after listening to their music. I hope they know how much they mean to those of us just enjoying some time alone.

I also love watching people…guessing what their stories are.

The vendors always seem happy, though sometimes rushed, and I wonder how satisfying they feel after the market closes. Do they think about all the lives they have touched in the short time they’re there every week?

The families with small children running around, touching every piece of fruit they see, staring at the fresh apple fritters. I wonder if this is a tradition for their family or maybe they just decided to stop by after soccer practice. Will the children ask to come back next week?

The couples with babies…the couples without. What are their stories? Young and in love…stopping for a quick lunch, picking up tulips to freshen their homes, taking time looking through the creative craft vendors. Or have they been together for years and just enjoy each other’s company on a Saturday morning…choosing the ingredients for a home-cooked weekend dinner or meeting friends for coffee.

Those couple hours every week when I’m not at work, I’m not a mom — I’m just a woman who enjoys being by herself and watching the lives of others around her….those hours I long for each week. It gives me hope that I will, too, enjoy life again. It gives me something to smile for, when there’s absolutely no reason to.

A trip to the Western Fair Farmers’ Market is more than just a stop for veggies for the next week … for me, it means a lot more.