Crumbs From the Corner: Adventures in Woolgathering

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Magic Bread Maker

The Greatest Love, by Anna Swir

She is sixty. She lives
the greatest love of her life.
She walks arm-in-arm with her dear one,
her hair streams in the wind.
Her dear one says:
"You have hair like pearls."
Her children say:
"Old fool."

I think it was five years ago that my Spouse and I took a trip to Klamath, California. We rented an impossibly small caravan and spent a number of days wandering the remote and beautiful wilds of Northern California. Just yards from the park we were staying in was a perfectly ordinary street with houses: these people, we were certain, were most definitely fortunate to live in such an awe-inspiring part of the world.
We were strolling on the country road one afternoon when we noticed a yard sale of some kind was taking place. I am always drawn like a veritable magnet to such things so naturally we angled our way over to where an old couple were waiting. They let us browse for a while. There were a few bits and pieces scattered and labeled 'for sale' on the table.
To this day I don't remember what else was on display but we immediately caught sight of a Hitachi breadmaker. Not only would it knead dough but it would bake the bread too! We did not have a bread maker in our home so we began to consider making the couple an offer.
They approached us and we said we would like to buy their bread maker. After some few minutes of friendly chit-chat with them we asked if they were perhaps moving away; that might account for the yard sale.
They smiled. It seemed they had a story to tell.
We guessed that they were in their eighties but when they were young they had been in love with each other. Life, however, had pulled them in different directions. They eventually married other people and heartbreakingly lost touch completely.
Half a century later they found each other. We did not learn how that came to be but when they met up again it was to learn that their respective spouses had passed away.
The time seemed fitting: they realised that they still loved one another, so they married and moved in together. They now owned double of everything and decided to sell what was superfluous.
They were startlingly happy.
What we were witnessing there in that green and rainy corner of California was something special: a couple, old now but very much in love and embarking on a new phase of life that we blindly tend to associate with the young.
That was five years ago; whenever we use the bread maker we think about that old couple and wonder how they are.
The bread maker, which we bought for thirty dollars, has become most useful in the last few months. It gets used to its capacity at least once a week. We have learned to make soda bread and pizza dough with the machine; we do not use it for baking bread- instead we use our oven and cook more items at one time- but now making dough is effortless.
I am delighted that we have such a distinctive, one-of-a-kind tale behind an item that has been our life saver.

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