The Company of Strangers


I am sure it is the same for you. Life is different since March. We wear masks. We wash our hands a lot. We distance. We don't go to the movies. We are doing our best. But we miss our old routines, our old haunts, our old people.


On a sunny day last week, I went out for a drive. Just to get out. Just to go somewhere, for no real reason at all. After all, getting lost and found is a favorite pastime of mine and is best done if you have nowhere to go.


On my way, I stopped in Livingston Manor to get an iced coffee from Brandenburg Bakery. I had already had two cups to start the day, but it seemed like the perfect cool accessory for a drive to nowhere in particular. I paused at the bakery's front door before going in to see if they had any special rules posted. A lady, obviously a regular, walked up behind me and said, "Four people are allowed inside at a time." I thanked her, hoping she could tell I was smiling behind my mask, and joined the first two customers in the store. I jockeyed for the right place to stand that allowed for both proper distance and a good view of what was in the glass case. I was there for iced coffee, which I didn't really need, so what would be the harm in adding to that order with some other items that I didn't need either? Turnovers, croissants, baguettes, pies, cookies, pastries with gooey fruit oozing from their crevices. A blur of treats. Four golden brown doughnuts with glistening, crumbly sugar caught my eye and without thinking I ordered them all. I would surprise folks at home with these for breakfast tomorrow, I thought, knowing full well that I would have to eat at least one right away.


Satisfied with my choice, I moved to the side to wait for my order and the bell on the door jingled. The woman with the mask came in and huddled close to her husband at the center of the display case. "I think they are all gone," she said glumly. He shook his head, obviously looking over the rest of the items to see if there was something that would salvage their thwarted mission. "What were you looking for?" I asked, nosily, wondering what delectable item they knew about that I did not. "The cronuts," she said. "They only make them on Fridays." She sounded sad. I laughed out loud from behind my mask. Now she knew I was smiling. But why was I laughing at her disappointment?


I explained that I had just ordered four donuts, which I now understood to be cronuts (donuts made with flaky croissant dough) that I really didn't need. Now also understanding how coveted and delicious they were, I could not part with all of them, but I would be happy to part with two of them, so that they could have two for themselves. I am pretty sure that her mouth was wide open in astonishment under her mask and, well, her husband looked relieved. The bakery lady removed two cronuts from my box and popped them into a bag for my new friends. They thanked me and we said goodbye.


In the truck with my loot, I opened the box and took a big bite of my sugar-sanded pastry. Crunchy and soft, layered and firm. Delectable. It's totally worth marking your Friday calendar for these babies. Mmmm. As good as the cronuts were, the best part of the trip was rediscovering how nice it is to have the company of strangers, to share a secret find, and to build a little humanity in a community bakery. I have really missed that.


Hope you're all well.


XOXO Farm Girl


#livingstonmanor #brandenburgbakery #cronuts #gettinglostandfound #farmgirlsguide

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