“Bunny, I’m telling you I thought we might start a food fight when we told Richard about The House of Donuts,” I said shaking my head.
“Honey, people are passionate about doughnuts,” Bunny said with her refined Texas accent.
“I guess,” I said taking a sip of coffee.
“Exactly how did you get into this debate?”
“I was reminiscing with my friend, Rachelle, about favorite childhood memories. We both brought up The House of Donuts. Richard walked into the room and said, ‘nothing can compare to a Krispy Kreme’. Then I said what about Tim Horton’s?”
“What did he say?”
“He pointed out we couldn’t get Tim Horton’s here. Then Rachelle said ‘if we were only going to talk about national brands, Dunkin’ Donuts is better than Krispy Kreme. But we’re not talking about national brands. We’re talking about a local family owned business that’s been around for forty years.’ The volume in the room increased.”
“So what happened?” Bunny asked tasting the maple bar I passed to her. “Oh, this is good.”
Richard stood up to his full height. Waving his hands for emphasis he said, “Fine, let’s have a head to head taste test and settle this once and for all.”
“Fine,” Rachelle said calming down. “The House of Donuts opens at 6 a.m. tomorrow, I say we start there.”
“That suits me just fine too,” Richard said, “see you at six tomorrow.”
The alarm blared. I rolled over and hit it. Richard leaped out of bed. He flung the blankets from the bed.
“Hey, I was sleeping. Give me back my blankets,” I said shivering, one eye slit open.
“We’re meeting Rachelle in Lakewood in less than an hour,” Richard said taking my pillow from me. “You need to get up and get moving. We’re not going to be late.”
Forcing life into my body I moved from the bed to the bathroom. Reflected in the mirror, chestnut colored hair standing in all directions and green eyes peering through swollen socket, my zombie avatar looked shocked.
“I love mornings, I love mornings, I love mornings,” I said.
Richard laughed in the next room.
At two minutes of six, we pulled into The House of Donuts’ parking lot. Cars filled the stalls in front of the door. We parked on the side. Richard opened his door. Cake doughnuts filled the air. We drooled.
Rachelle stood in front of the door. “So Richard, what do you think now?”
“They smell great, but the proof is in the eating.”
“Richard, we want whatever is hot,” I said as they opened the door for us.
Twelve people shuffled shoulder to shoulder into the tiny lobby ahead of us. A glass case displayed doughnuts, bear claws, apple fritters, cinnamon rolls and gigantic maple bars.
One of the bakers carried a tray of freshly iced maple bars. Steam rose from the tray filling our nostrils. She placed it in the display counter. Twelve pastry crazed customers stood between us and the maple bars.
We moved closer to the counter. A tray of maple bars and cinnamon rolls disappeared before we reached it. Two more trays appearing, a maple-cinnamon steam wafting in the air. Followed by a pan of old fashioned doughnuts, which slide in along side.
Richard, Rachelle and I moved to the front of the line. Our eyes glazed over.
“Richard, get whatever’s hot,” Rachelle and I said in unison.
“I’ll take two maple bars, an apple fritter, a cinnamon roll, an old fashioned and three coffees,” Richard said to the woman at the counter.
Steam rushed from the box as she closed the cover over our pastries. “Be careful, it’s hot,” she said handing the box to Richard.
I carried the coffees while Rachelle held the door open. We shuffled through the crowd back to the open air.
Richard gave the pastry box to Rachelle. He opened the truck’s tailgate. Setting out our picnic, I pulled out a plastic knife and fork.
“Richard, would you like the honors or should I?” I asked holding up the utensils.
“You better do it. I’m likely to shove the whole thing in my mouth if I touch it first,” he said.
Slicing the steaming maple bar into thirds, we each took a piece. Hot maple frosting melted in my mouth. The soft pastry barely needed chewing. Closing my eyes as I savored the maple sugar.
“Oh, this is good,” Richard said taking the knife and fork and cutting up the second bar. “It reminds me of the old maple bars from my childhood. I haven’t tasted anything this good in years.”
“See, what did I tell you,” said Rachelle taking a second piece.
“I can’t wait to try the cinnamon roll and apple fritter,” I said taking the knife from Richard.
“I want a piece of the old fashioned,” Rachelle said wiping maple frosting from her cheek.
We sat on the end of the tail gate and drank our coffee, licking the last of the frosting from our fingers.
“I think we need more maple bars for the road,” Richard said walking back into the bakery.
Ten minutes later he walked out with a dozen maple bars in a pink pastry box.
“This should get us most of the way home,” he said with a smile.
“Don’t you want to save room for the other two doughnut shops?” I asked.
“Nope, I’ve got all I need here.”
“You’re going to have one heck of a sugar rush if you eat all those on the way home,” I said drooling over the box.
“First of all, I plan to share, Miss Smarty Pants. Secondly, what do you think power naps were invented for?”
Richard handed Rachelle a maple bar. “You’ve won me over.”
“So that’s why Richard’s passed out on the sofa,” Bunny said taking a second maple bar from the box.
“Yup,” I said refilling her coffee cup.