Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Garlandsburg - Hearthstone Bakery
The air around the Hearthstone Bakery was filled with tantalizing smells of freshly baked breads, cakes, pies and other delectable, mouth-watering and enticing goods. Peter, the oldest son of Baker Stone, hoisted yet another sack of flour onto his broad shoulder and carried it out to the waiting cart. There were deliveries to be made before dark. After setting the sack in the cart, he paused to call “Merry Christmas!” to the approaching sleigh carrying the Reverend Goodman, his wife and daughter. Then, turning back to the warm bakery, Peter re-entered the shop.
“Here you are, Mrs. Johnston,” Mr. Stone was saying. “And Joel, are you going to carry this loaf of bread home?”
Young Joel nodded as he carefully held the large loaf handed to him.
“Thank you, Mr. Stone. Have a merry Christmas, oh, I almost forgot, your horse is ready whenever you want him.”
Mr. Stone thanked her, and she and Joel turned to leave.
“The cart is loaded, Father,” Peter announced straightening his baker’s hat and dusting his hands on his apron. Most lads his age would have scorned to wear an apron in the kitchen, much less be seen in one, but not Peter. It didn’t matter what others thought of him as long as he was doing his best to please his father.
Mr. Stone opened the oven door, and the spicy smell of cinnamon buns wafted across the kitchen and into the shop.
“Ah, now that is what I call a pleasant Christmas aroma!”
Peter turned. It was the postman with his hands full of mail.
“I’ll make a trade with you, Mr. Stone,” Postman Owen chuckled. “These letters for a hot bun.”
Peter grinned. It was a holiday tradition for his father and the postman to exchange freshly baked goods for the mail.
As the baker was taking one of the hot buns from the pan, he turned to his son. “Peter, run over to the carriage house and fetch Sugar. You should start on the deliveries a bit early so as to get home for supper.”
Peter nodded, taking off his hat and apron and dashing upstairs for his coat, scarf and cap. Coming into the shop once more, he suddenly paused and thrust his hand into his coat pocket.
“Pastry!” he exclaimed pulling out the family cat. “My coat is not the place to have your kittens.”
Mr. Stone laughed. “I don’t know what we’ll do with kittens. You wouldn’t be wanting one, Owen, would you?”
Postman Owen grinned. “If one was named Cinnamon Bun, I might.”
Peter joined in the laugh as he gently placed the cat on a burlap bag near the oven.
“Any thing else to add to my deliveries, Father?”
When the baker, already busy rolling out a pie crust, shook his head, Peter and the postman headed out into the frosty, Christmas Eve afternoon.
“So long, Peter,” Postman Owen called. “See you at the Christmas Eve service.”
Waving gayly, Peter headed down the cobblestone road to the carriage house.