Saturday, August 25, 2012


What's wrong with this picture? Nothing at all, and therein lies the beauty. When I left the store last night, the light on the left was out. Of eight lights over the main counter, that light on the left [let's call it 'Sylvester'], is the most important. The reason? The territory it lights on the counter below is prime counter real estate. A majority of the pastry we display everyday sits and shines for its new owner under that one light. Sylvester, therefore, holds unusually large lightbulb responsibility at City Bakery. Without Sylvester, pastry is somber and flat. And sad. 

Those lights are twenty-two feet off the ground. Not many of us who work here who are comfortable on a ladder that high. As it happens, our kitchen steward who also is our Vice President of Lightbulb Changing, is on vacation. Sylvester blew around 5pm yesterday. When I saw it, I knew immediately the chances were better than fair that Saturday and pretty good that Sunday would be Sylvester-free. That's the kind of store detail that makes my stomach groan.

When I walked into the store this morning, against all odds, Sylvester burned bright. It may be deep August, but that bright light felt like the miracle of the oil burning eight days that led to Hanukkah. A gift I didn't imagine. I didn't even ask anyone "who" or "how." Small victories. They come in all forms around here.  

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