Archive for July, 2014

Doughnut Day

This column first appeared in the July issue of Forsyth Family magazine:

For a long time, Sunday was Doughnut Day. Every Sunday I would go to Krispy Kreme to pick up doughnuts for Sparkle Girl and Doobins. One day, Sunday became Cinnamon Roll Day. Now, every Sunday, I go to Panera just after it opens to pick up a cinnamon roll for Doobins and, depending on Sparkle Girl’s mood, perhaps a bagel for her.

The new routine brought new people into my life. My favorites are a couple – in their 80s would be my guess. When they arrive before me, I see them sitting next to each other on a bench seat having their coffee and Sunday morning treats. Something about them sitting side-by-side in that same spot each week seems really sweet. I like to imagine that they have had a good life together and enjoy each other even more than they did when they were young.

One morning, I looked over and saw a different woman sitting by herself in their spot. As I walked out, the couple was coming in. I wondered how they would feel when they discovered that their spot had been taken.

I have other people like them – people I don’t know but who are part of my real life in a small way and part of my imaginary life in a bigger way. When I drive to work, I sometimes see a father and son running down the sidewalk together in one of the residential neighborhoods I drive through. The boy is young to be serious runner – perhaps 6 – but a serious runner he is.

I wonder whether he started running because his father invited him that first day or whether he asked his father. Their running is both relaxed and crisp. I imagine the boy growing up to be an impressive competitive runner one day and looking back on his days running through the neighborhood with his dad.

I have other regulars in my drive to work – the man who rides a bicycle with saddle bags where I presume he keeps his work clothes and the young woman who walks with a determination that makes me think that nothing she does in her life is easy – that, whatever it is – even something that should be fun – she has to work at it. When I see her, I hope that one day, she will find a way to relax.

The biggest person in my going-to-work world is a woman I see walking every single day. I sometimes wonder whether she makes a point to leave her house at the same time each morning so that she can time herself or it simply works out that way. In any case, I could set my watch by where I see her along the way.

If I see the woman at the bottom of the hill, I know that she is well into her walk and I am running late. If I make it to the top of the hill, turn the corner and see her somewhere down the next road, I know that I am on schedule and all is right with the world.

She walks with a smooth vigor that makes me think she has been walking every day for many years and is glad to start each day that way.

One day, I didn’t see her and started wondering whether she was all right. Then, just as I was about to make the turn that would take me down yet another leg of my drive to work, I saw her farther down the road. I was glad to see that she was OK and wondered what had thrown her off her routine.

Part of me would like to know more about these people. Mostly, though, I am content with what my imagination came up with to go with the Sunday morning couple, the running boy and father and the woman I could set my watch by.

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