Pick pocket’s paradise

Periodically, I wander over to the Keady Livestock Market. It is only a half hour’s drive from where I now live. This past Tuesday was one of those days. Having grown up in a market garden where many of my Saturdays found me helping my parents as vendors at a very young age, it brought back many memories, but in reality, people, places and markets have changed very little.

From the sea of cars that filled two large fields, came wave after wave of anxious people. In only a few early morning moments, line after line of vendors, several hundred in number, had set up their stands to display their wares.

Although there were a few local farmers with honey, maple syrup, cheese, eggs, home crafts and early vegetables, most of the vendors were traditional hucksters, hawking resalable items from faraway places, with an interesting mix of creed, colour and nationality, blending well with the mix of products being sold.

As a youngster, I found the markets interesting and also a challenge. It was fun to try and guess the nationality by the accents when they spoke. It was fun, too, to notice the likes and dislikes of the different nationalities, but that was not possible at Keady. The mongrelized crowds were shoulder to shoulder. A gentle push or shove was not uncommon, and most lacked a polite excuse me.

Everybody seemed to be in a rush; the weather was hot and sticky with the humidity leaving a lot to be desired, and the only shade being the courtesy of a vendor’s canopy. I stopped under one of those and turned to watch the people as they passed.

My eye caught first a young woman, perhaps in her mid-20s. She was moving quickly through the crowd, bumping people quite often, but stopping each time to apparently apologize. It was then that I realized what she was doing. She was picking the pockets of the people she had bumped. Three times in as many minutes I saw her slip something into her inside jacket pockets.

And then she was gone. I saw her later at a hotdog stand munching lunch with a masculine friend; they were probably working the crowd together.

I went from there over to watch the auction of the pet stock; mostly ducks, chickens, rabbits, guinea pigs and related items. It was held in a well-shaded, open driving shed. I did not see the pick-pockets there, as there were too many roving eyes helping the auctioneer scan the crowd for bids.

All in all it was a pleasant day for me, as it brought back many memories of the years when the Little Lady and I were vendors at the local markets.

Take care, ‘cause we care.




Barrie Hopkins