The order came in weeks ago, twelve chocolate-dipped strawberries for pickup at noon this past sunday. It sat for weeks, in the form of a small yellow carbon-copied slip, taped on the 'cake order wall' in front of the ice cream cake decorating table. Ice cream cake orders came and went, while this small order of strawberries stayed put, quietly watching over the daily goings-on on the cake operating table below. The person who ordered them never specifically said what they were for, and it really wasn't much of our business, but sure we were all a little curious. It wasn't Mother's Day or Valentine's Day, just a random sunday in early April. During those weeks it sat in wait, I occasionally glanced over at it, each time feeling a small hint of apprehension that when the time finally came, I'd forget to buy strawberries or to come in early to get them done for noon that day. Chocolate-dipped strawberries are really only good the day you make them, that's what makes them difficult to offer on a regular basis.
Well, I didn't forget to buy her strawberries, and both Mimi and I remembered to come in a little early to get them done this past sunday. The woman who ordered them arrived a little before noon, as we were just putting the finishing touches on her dozen dippped desserts. She didn't seem to mind waiting the few minutes for them to be done, a small price to pay for freshness.
I struggled a little with the price, knowing a buck a piece was probably low, but told Mimi to charge her that price anyway. Sure, I think we could have made a little more, but as my Dad always preached to me when I was starting, 'charge what you need to charge, don't get greedy.'
Mimi showed her the nicely arranged dozen in the box. Our customer smiled widely, settled up, and was on her way.
In most cases, that's usually that.
It just so happened that yesterday I took a break from the shop action to go for a little run on the other side of Mt. Tom, around that reservoir off of route 141. If you haven't been there, it really is a beautiful little loop for a walk or jog. Anyway, I had just finished my run and was sitting on the back of my truck. As I recovered my breath and rehydrated, a woman pulled up, got out of her car, and walked toward me and the trailhead. She looked only slightly familiar. I was in my running gear and sported a pair of dark sunglasses, seemingly unrecognizable to anyone, yet the next thing I heard was, 'Those strawberries were delicious!'
It was the chocolate-dipped strawberries woman.
She stopped briefly to say hello before her stroll around the reservoir. She continued, 'My partner and I got married on Sunday in our backyard. It was really, really nice. After the ceremony, we had champagne and your delicious chocolate strawberries. It was perfect. Thanks for making them for us. It was an unforgettable and special moment for us.'
It's stories like that that make it all worthwhile. and then some.