She came to town every Wednesday for Market Day. She had lovely manners and a gracious way of deferring questions that made any conversation seem complete instead of evasive.
“Your husband might like this hand-sewn shirt.” Mrs. Gardner, the local nosy parker, searched for clues about the mysterious woman.
“What tiny, even stitches! I can see you’re an expert seamstress. Where did you get this wonderful twill?” Mrs. Gardner thrilled to the praise and started describing her adventurous fabric expeditions, forgetting all about husbands.
No one knew the woman’s name, or where she lived, or anything about her. They just called her the Lady. She was tall and willowy, always dressed in pale pink or light purple. Most folks thought she was a ghost. She seemed to be from another world, not quite there. Grandpa Whittier reckoned she didn’t even cast a shadow.
Someone dared Billy Evans to touch her, see if she was flesh and bone. He practically fell across her path; a brush of her fingers restored his balance. He refused to talk about her, but he quit his wild ways and started singing in the choir.
The Lady never bought anything, but had kind words for bakers and weavers, wood carvers and candle makers, farmers and artists, who all thrived from her praise.
Once she tenderly touched a tiny wooden cradle, and the formerly barren carpenter’s wife gave birth to healthy twins the following year. When she read aloud from a book of poems by Israel Cummings, the half-blind grave digger, his milky eyes suddenly sparkled blue.
Finally one day the Lady brought a pony cart filled with tiny clumps ready for planting. “With gratitude” read the sign. No one ever saw her again, but they planted the clumps, which grew into breathtaking grasses of pinks and purples like the colors the Lady always wore.
Years later Mrs. Gardner’s great-grand-daughter was miraculously healed when she brushed against a plume of feathery pink grass, and the pilgrimages began. After that, there were miracles aplenty, but only on Wednesdays. Only on Market Day.