Three Strikes, no Four…

Two loaves of French bread

Mixed: 10:45 am

Molded: 2:15 pm

Baked: 3:15 pm

Gave to… no one…

It’s an unseasonably cold day here in Santa Barbara. The normal temperature for this time of year is 70 degrees, and right now we’re hovering in the low 50’s. Our house sits in a bit of a sheltered hollow, so when the wind is rushing through our yard you know it’s really blowing elsewhere. From the warmth of my desk, I don’t mind watching the trees and plants sway, the colors shifting as the undersides of the leaves are revealed. But my heart goes out to those who are on the streets today.

A woman in our neighborhood hauled some unwanted firewood out to the front of her yard a few days ago and put up a “free” sign. I drove by several times and didn’t pick any up, even though our stack has dwindled to plum wood prunings. I figured it’s almost May and evenings by the fire were long gone.

But a shift in the wind brought an icy chill to our seaside town. Well, not Alaska icy, or Montana or Minnesota icy, but cold enough for me to think about making a batch of hot chai, pull out the knitting, start a fire in the fireplace, and bake some bread.

I started with the tea and the knitting, thenbaked two loaves of bread and lit the fire. That’s when I got the fine idea of sending the second loaf to the folks who set out the wood! Why not?

I pulled up to their home this evening and sped to the front door. The driveway was empty, but a light was on inside, and sure enough, a woman was home. She opened the door, and I thanked her for the firewood and told her that I had some fresh bread for her in return. “My husband’s out of town, and I’m not eating much,” she said apologetically. “But thanks for thinking of me, and take all the firewood you want–there’s even more behind the gate. You can have all you like.”

I hopped back in the car, not feeling terribly rejected; lots of folks don’t eat bread anymore, and many people aren’t terribly comfortable opening their doors to strangers… The adventure of giving had begun. Warm bread. Where to next?

I drove straight to MacKenzie Park, where homeless folks typically hang out. There was still an hour of light, so I figured I might find someone there, huddled behind a wall or shrub to stay out of the wind. No one. So I popped over to the corner grocer, then to the post office, then to the parking lot behind the shopping structures. Everyone was in hideout mode.

On my way home I made one last stop at a house nearby that was recently purchased. I haven’t yet met the owner and figured this would be as good a time as any. His truck was in the driveway. I knocked on all three doors, front, back and side… Where was everyone?

Finally I simply took the bread home and told the kids we’d be having French toast in the morning. So that’s my plan.

Want to join us for breakfast? 🙂 Be here at 7:30 sharp–there will be plenty to share.