Our village has the most amazing bakery. It’s old-fashioned and family owned. The owners and their children (and some local teens) bake, decorate, and operate this quaint establishment. It’s nestled in a small strip-mall with a “family” liquor store (have you ever noticed that small towns have these “family” liquor stores?) , a laundromat, and an honest-to-goodness butcher. The outside of the little strip mall kind of looks like the mall that time forgot. The signage is older, and yellowing. It has a tin roof. The bakery, while now a peanut-free operation, has display cases and registers that date back several decades. The owners and staff still take vacation a few times a year– shutting down completely. Every summer, they are gone for about a week to ten days…and it doesn’t matter. We all come flocking back. They have amazing customer service, and try to accommodate all of their patrons’ requests.
For me, the little bakery elicits memories of my childhood. Those early Sunday mornings with my dad, where we’d sneak out of the house, drive down to our town’s bakery for some fresh danish, donuts and carton of chocolate milk. The real stuff–full of fat and chocolatey-goodness. Those early mornings were few and far between, but they were special. When I step into our current village’s little bakery, I’m 7 years old again…the aroma of chocolate, sugar, and bakery wafting about. The clinking of the staff baking and decorating in the back. The chime of the door as other patrons enter. The hum of the cases that display the cookies, cupcakes, bakery, and cakes. If I could get away with it, I’d press my face up to those cases and just take in all of the different colors, shapes, and creations on the trays.
We’ve been huge fans of our bakery since we moved here over a decade ago. Hubz brought me fresh bagels from the bakery after I had Jake. We have served their Limpa bread at our Christmas dinners. We had all of the boys’ first birthday cakes made there. When we want to get the kids (and maybe ourselves) a treat, we’ll head on over to the local bakery.
Our children dub the bakery “The Cookie Store”, because they make the most yummy, cavity-inducing, waistband-expanding sugar cookies. They have the standard yellow smiley face with fudge eyes and smile. They also make seasonal sugar cookies like butterflies, flags, santas, stockings, snowmen, snowflakes, hearts, suns, stars, etc. During the football season they make them with footballs. They put the local baseball teams on cookies, too. During Homecoming, they put the high school colors on cookies. My children absolutely love the combination of the sweet frosting and the buttery-sweet sugar cookie. Who wouldn’t?
Yesterday I had to take all 3 boys with me into the “cookie store”. We were ordering a cake for our family party to celebrate Cole’s 3rd birthday. Luckily there weren’t any people ahead of us in line. As Tate watched the cake display spin, and Jake and Cole made nice smudgey kid-prints all over the display cases, I let the girl behind the counter know that we needed to order a cake. Once we figured out the right size, I asked for yellow cake with butter cream frosting. They put cherry pie filling in as a filling…soooo good! Since Cole loves firetrucks–and all kids seem to like the color red, we went with a fire truck theme. I was asked what I’d like the cake to say.
Me: Happy 3rd Birthday, Cole!
Cole: Bird-day?! For me?! I get PRESENTS!!!!!!
Tate: NO, no birthdays. No birthdays here. No singing.
Cole: I want Lego cherry-picker. I want Lego cherry-picker!!! You build it for me, ‘kay, Mom?? Momma? Mommy? Mom? Ma? Mama?!
Jake: Can I have a donut?
Tate: I want a cupcake–that one with the RED flower. It’s mine!
Me: Hang o–
Cole: I want Lego cherry-picker. And smile cookie. Mmm-hmm.
Girl behind counter: Soooo, can I get you anything else?? (Smiles sweetly while probably wishing us all away so she can go back to her peaceful afternoon.)
Me: I guess I’ll take a chocolate donu–
Jake: Long john!
Me: A chocolate long john, that yellow cupcake with the red flower, and a smiley face cookie, please.
Girl behind counter: Is that all??
Me: Yes, thanks. See you on Saturday…
Girl behind counter: Sounds good. Have a great day!! (Adios, crazy-loud family…)
I wiped the perspiration from my brow, and we set off for the car. Each of the boys was quite pleased with his choice of treat. I was just glad to get the chaos home again. When it comes time to pick up the cake for our party, I’m sending Hubz by himself. The bakery can only take so much House of Hope crazy in one week…