Six months ago, my local neighborhood bakery shut its doors. A sign in the window read, “Sold Out. Out of Business.”
Truth be told, I wasn’t terribly surprised. That bakery was a tiny, ancient hole in the wall that had occupied the same location, two blocks from my house, for over fifty years. It was the kind of place where old ladies in white aprons sold hand-made Danish pastries and old-school doughnuts for next to nothing. Their substantial, sticky glazed doughnuts made Krispy Kremes look like a nothing bit of sweetened air. Their old fashioned doughnuts had grease-darkened crunchy outsides that housed fluffy, perfect middles. My personal favorite was a little delight called a strawberry rhubarb puff, a sort of cupcake-shaped sweet roll with gooey, tart filling hidden inside. But a Cub Foods opened nearby a few years ago, and with the recent influx of Krispy Kreme outlets in the Twin Cities metro area, I couldn’t imagine how the little bakery stayed in business.
When that sign appeared, I wasn’t surprised, but I mourned the loss of our neighborhood institution. And I especially mourned the loss of strawberry rhubarb puffs. Which is why, the other day, when Demigoddess the Younger told me she’d seen a new sign on the bakery’s door, a sign that said, “RE-OPENING THURSDAY,” I was afraid to believe it.
This morning, with hope in my heart, I went there before work and found that it was true. Not only was the bakery open, but the tiny place was crammed with customers. The same old ladies were back behind the counter, the cases were once again filled with the very same doughnuts and Danish pastries, and, yes, strawberry rhubarb puffs. I bought the last two, along with a box full of goodies to bring to work, because when a person is blessed with such pure, unexpected joy, one has an obligation to share.
That ought to be enough happiness for one day, but believe it or not, another trimphant return is also contributing to the extra-special skip in my step today.
After last summer’s crushing episode of couch weeping, after my Twins Fest near disappointment, last night’s Twins vs. Red Sox spring training game was a gift straight from the heavens. Not because the Twins won, not because Johan Santana and Carlos Silva each pitched shutout innings, not even because Joe Mauer and Lew Ford each hit homeruns (although I would love to lay a big fat kiss right on the team’s new hitting coach, Joe Vavra).
It was a gift because, on the very first pitch of his very first at bat of 2006, Torii Hunter shelled an absolutely gorgeous homerun right out of the park, proving that he’s back, he’s healthy, and he’s ready to resume his role as the team’s leader and guiding force. With that one swing of his bat, I instantly remembered why I adore him, and the Twins, and the game of baseball to levels that defy all rational reason.
I managed not to cry, but it was close.