You could barely tell that the periwinkle blue sky was dotted with clouds as the sun started to rise when the Forest Ranger stepped his gumboots past the storefront of Cottage Teas.
This wasn’t his normal beat, yet the aroma of baking sourdough lured him here this early morning. He had never noticed this store before. He didn’t usually frequent this part of town at all, and certainly not at this hour. In fact, he tried to avoid coming into town altogether.
As he entered, several small round tables spread with delicate flowered teacups, teapots, saucers, jams and jellies, each with their own tiny spreading knives, made him feel like a skyscraper. Small bunches of drying herbs hung from the corners of the walls and minature drawers of loose tea leaves sat on each sideboard contributing to his growing sense of claustrophobia.
He braved the great unknown every day, but he felt completely out of place in this small shop. He was afraid to move.
If only he could find a sourdough as good as Nana’s. He missed Nana’s sourdough. No one in his family knew the recipe. No one had cared to save it.
Despite tasting several storebought sourdough loaves and surviving almost all the single ladies attempts at sourdough (why would anyone mix in olives or black licorice?) in this town, he still couldn’t find one as good as Nana’s.
It was official. He was a sourdough snob. A purist. Finding Nana’s sourdough was like looking for a needle in a haystack.
But he thought he smelled it here.
“Excuse me,” he called out, clearing his throat. He didn’t want to move further in and risk breaking anything, yet he didn’t want to yell and scare the bejeezus out of whoever was baking this early in the morning either.
Around the corner, from the back, stepped a petite blond woman with flour on her left cheek. “May I help you?” she inquired with a lift of her eyebrow and a hand on her hip. It wasn’t the warmest welcome he had ever had.
“Do I smell sourdough baking here?”
“Yes, you do.” she replied, crossing her arms in front of her chest. “Is that a crime?”
He realized that he was still clad in his Forest Ranger uniform, including his sidearm. “No m’am. I’m sorry. I was just hoping for a loaf of your sourdough bread.”
“We open at 7:30 AM.”
“But . . . ”
“You can come back and place your order then. Sourdoughs sell out quickly, so I recommend you pre-order several days in advance,” she replied directly. “Now, if you’ll excuse me. I need to tend to the sourdough and pastries.” She turned and disappeared back around the corner.
Ugh! He may or may not have found Nana’s sourdough, but he wouldn’t know for several more days. One thing he was pretty sure about, he found Nana’s attitude!
(Sorry! I know it’s more of a start to a story than a poem, but inspiration struck & I ran with it. I hope you enjoyed it!)