Last summer, one of my more trouble-making friends, Sammy, came home to visit. Her dad was sick, so I met her in Naperville at the hospital. As any good friend would do, I took her out drinking to “drown her sorrows.”
What was supposed to be a few drinks turned into a few pitchers, and I could no longer make my way home safely. As one who does not condone drinking and driving, I needed to call my amazing (and still new-ish) boyfriend for a ride. After a long commute on the train, he got in his car, backtracked to pick me up, and met Sammy and I in the downtown Naperville area. Sammy and I were giggly, and she was wonderfully adorable, telling the boyfriend that I hadn’t officially declared my love for, that she could see why I love him so much. Truth
The problem was my vehicle. At the bright and early hours of the following morning, I had to ride with Brian to the train, take the train to Naper, and grab my car–backtracking to work before 8 AM. At the train station, though, I discovered a sign for the Aurora Farmer’s Market…
I love farmer’s markets. They usually have delicious fruits and veggies, tasty snacks, and so much more. Oh yes, I would be checking that out the following Saturday morning.
The next Saturday, during a rainy, wet weekend, I trekked over to the market. Perusing the booths under a light drizzle seemed all well and fine, until I got to The Cheese People booth. Cheese?! Yes. That’s right. Cheese. and LOTS of it.
Just as I was beginning a conversation with the man that I now lovingly refer to as Cheese Guy (whose name is actually Rick and he is fantastic), the rain turned on me. That light drizzle became a rolling storm, in which I sought out shelter under the bright yellow tent, sampling cheeses to my heart’s content.
It was that moment that turned me from slight cheese lover to cheese snob. My knowledge of cheese improved drastically over the last year all because of Cheese Guy. After the rain simmered down, and business started picking up, Cheese Guy asked what I was up to for the rest of the day. I told him that he was looking at my plans. Not a whole heck of a lot.
“Well then get back here and grab a knife.”
The next thing I knew, I had a glove on one hand, a knife in the other. I was slicing and weighing cheese, learning prices, and offering samples to passersby. I was good at what I did. We got busy, and Cheese Guy appreciated my efforts. I had already set aside a pretty hearty portion of cheese, and when the afternoon was over, I asked what I owed. Cheese Guy took an inventory of my purchase, did some mental math, and said, “Nothing. You just worked your ass off for me.” My rate was apparently equivalent to the cost of cheese that I was intending to buy.
For the next few months, I made my way over to help Cheese Guy out whenever I could, and when the market started up in May, so did I. Cheese Guy was promoted, and my weekend schedule got hectic, so I no longer work for cheese…but I certainly consider myself a Cheesemonger now.
It’s so cliche I can hardly control myself: Out of a drunken night of debauchery sprung a cheesy love affair.