Posted outside the brick building is a sign:
PARKING FOR CUSTOMERS OF
GREAT HARVEST ONLY. ALL OTHERS
WILL BE BEATEN WITH BREAD DOUGH.
Entering, we’re greeted by the embrace
of heaven-scent aromas drifting from shelves
upon shelves of baked delicacies: yeasty breads,
cookies, cinnamon rolls to sigh for.
A cheerful young woman behind the counter
welcomes us, offers samples from an array
of fresh breads: puffy speckled domes
of cinnamon burst, plump pink rounds of cherry
chocolate bread, rich brown and beige oblongs
of pumpkin chocolate chip and sunflower
whole wheat. "A small slice of cherry chocolate,"
my husband acquiesces with a smile.
"I’m not allowed to cut anything small,"
the clerk replies; she slices a slab and points
to the butter. Inhaling with appreciation,
we order cinnamon rolls and sit at a small
round table while the rolls are swathed
in a fresh coat of frosting. Swags of white lights
drape the ceiling like stars a yuletide sky.
Christmas music electrifies the air.
CELEBRATE SIMPLICITY suggests a sign
above the great iron pot of soup that bubbles
an invitation on a nearby counter: SOUP
AND A SLICE: $2.49.
Two skinny teenage boys in baggy pants
enter, at once caught up in the ambiance
of fragrant bread offerings and the lilt and
cadence of Dixie Chicks singing "Hey Santa."
In a surge of spontaneity, with joyful grins, both boys
accept bread samples and break into
exuberant, unselfconscious swing steps.
In blissful freedom they dance
between the counter and tables.
Enraptured, we look on. This place is well-named.
For an unexpected moment we glimpse
the world at its best, the world as it can be.
It is an epiphany.
It is a Great Harvest.