I’m nothing, if not loyal. And I’m eating a cookie as I write this.
When I was pregnant with Scarlet, I had this pretty terrible software job at a company in Northampton. I could walk to work, and often I did so, even at nine-months-pregnant and with two of my co-workers nearly ready to call local hospitals or ambulances because they were afraid I had given birth on the bike trail between my apartment and work. Speaking of those co-workers, they were the only two bright points of this job. One, who made me laugh often and made me feel confident in my music knowledge because one day after he snickered through a phone call with a client named “Dr. Wu” I asked, “Like the Steely Dan song?” I’ll never forget the impressed look that flashed across his face. “Dr. Wu” even made it onto a birth mix.
The other bright point was my co-worker, Holly. We became fast friends from the start.
Right before I went on my “maternity leave” (read: never coming because six weeks unpaid sounds terrible), she brought me a happy face cookie from a local bakery. It had frosting and sprinkles. I was astounded. “Where did you get this?? I’m from NJ and this is like the old school bakeries there! Everything around here is gluten-free, vegan, nutty, crap, cardboard! I want some freakin’ sprinkles and frosting – that’s what I want!” It was just like that but I didn’t shout at her. I just had to know.
Enter Greggory’s Pastry Shop into my life.
The first time I drove through Hadley (a neighboring town), I made Cassidy slow down so we could find Greggory’s. We ran in to find the happy face cookies, as well as cupcakes, cakes, cannolis, and a whole case of various bakery cookies. I remember that I got chocolate chip cookies that day, one of their signature cookies, and it was the best chocolate chip cookie I had ever had. The love story was being written. It’s a cash/check only place, and I’m terrible about cash (and checks), so it became more of a special occasion thing. It wasn’t just about the money – I just didn’t want to EVER get sick of it. Every time there was something to celebrate, or I miraculously came into money, that’s where I wanted to go. Every time Cassidy went to Hadley, I hoped he’d come home with a telltale white paper bag or bakery box. It often happened.. Especially when I looked like this:
There was this one time that I was short of money and I was counting out change and getting flustered, and it was one of my rare times away from Baby Scarlet and the store was very busy and Greggory was very cranky. He got very mad at me for being unsure of what I wanted right away and then not knowing if I had the money. He made me cry in my car and I left without cookies. I didn’t have the guts to go back for weeks and I made Cassidy go in one day for me and he told Greggory that he had hurt my feelings. I got lots of cookies that day and I eventually went back on my own. Scarlet learned to love “The Cookie Store”
She’d try to kiss the glass cases, and I had to stop her.
I couldn’t wait to get Des on board when the time came, but there was a big fire six months ago in October, and Greggory’s burned down to the ground along with several other businesses late one night. I was at my parent’s house when I found out through Facebook and I was crying. I had been meaning to go there only a week earlier, because it had been awhile, and now I didn’t know if I ever would again. The first time I drove by there, I was sickened. The first time I drove by there with Scarlet and had to explain how an ENTIRE BUILDING PLAZA was now just ashes was also sickening, but she handled it well. We stayed tuned for updates and found out in January that they planned to rebuild at a new, close location. I waited (im)patiently for details.
About six weeks ago, a temporary sign went up at the new location that it was coming soon! Since it’s on the way to our nearest Target/Trader Joe’s, I would always glance over and check. About a week or two ago, I drove past on the way to Target and it was the same as it had been for weeks, but on the way back, the temporary sign was gone and workers were putting up a new one. Progress! Would I get my beloved cookies again soon?
Yes. Yes, I would. Last Wednesday, the Facebook page was finally updated to say that they were re-opening the following day – Thursday, April 10th! That was my seven year anniversary of leaving New Jersey! I was so happy I screamed, and Scarlet was mad because she thought I saw a bug. Nope. Only the best news ever! I told her we were going when they opened the following morning. She said, “That’s great..but we don’t HAVE to go so early, do we?” Well..no..but..COOKIES! Who was this kid?
Des would never say that! Hence..the chocolate-smeared mouth.
We did it, though. We got there before they opened. I was expecting a crowd, but..we were first. Whatever, people. COOKIES!
We walked in and it was wonderful and I got to give a speech to them about how sorry I was about the fire and how much I missed them. I wanted my face to be one of the first they saw on their re-opening after tragedy and six months of rebuilding. I can’t explain it any other way. I wanted my friendly face to be one of the first they saw, if not the first. I’m friendly.
I like cookies. I like things to mean a lot. I like joy. I like spreading joy and things that mean a lot.