Sometimes, after a bad night, I drive to the Bearclaw Coffee hut on the corner of North Territorial and Dexter-Pinckney Roads to get an apple fritter. And a strong cup of English breakfast tea. Then I go to Hudson Mills Metropark and sit in the Rapids View picnic area to watch the Huron River.
The tea steams in the cup. The fritter waits in the bag. The river flows by. And I am filled with gratitude for the baker who got up in the middle of the night to make the fritter I am about to eat. Here's my tribute to her:
To the person who makes the apple fritters at the Dexter Bakery
Monday, it's always Monday,
when the desire for heavy pastry rises in me.
Perhaps it's the exertions of the weekend—the long
hikes, the high piles of laundry, the necessary exhortations
of the sermon—striving to be better than I am.
I think of driving to the little coffee house at the corner
of two country roads to wait my turn with commuters tapping
their consoles and construction crews shifting in their bright
neon vests, waiting, waiting for the pony-tailed barista
to hand our treats through the window in a thin paper bag.
The thought of those fritters rousts me from the warm dent
I've made in the bed. I put on my clothes and shoes. Then
I remember: You are not there. Monday is your day off.
As it should be.
You, too, deserve, a rest from your labors, a break
from the heat of the ovens and the clatter of baking
sheets in the racks. The sugary dust that sticks
to your skin. Even if you still love the way the yeast
bubbles through the dough, and how the dough flares
in the fryer, and still admire how the glaze slides
into every crevasse.
You need your sabbath, too.
This summer when you took a week of vacation, every
day we went to the small window asking for fritters
only to be handed a grainy cake donut or some good
for you cookie with oats and millet and God knows what.
The barista agreed with our dismay: "No one makes
fritters like her. She'll be back next week."
Do you know, dear baker, dear maker of delectable
pastries, how many people you gladden on any given
day? How many tense fingers loosen just a little, how many
callused palms receive a bit of goodness from the work
of your hands?
Life is so often hard.
Yet this bread breaks in easy chunks
and fills our mouths with sweetness.
Just so, in simple and hidden ways,
we strengthen each other.
Scripture: "Bless, oh Lord, the work of our hands. Oh, bless the work of our hands." –Psalm 90:17 (paraphrase)
Playlist: "Take Our Bread," Joe Wise, 1966.