Saturday, July 12, 2014

My Secret Passion

Back before I was married, but living in Nashville, I came home for Christmas break and I broke my ankle in a terrible sledding accident.  There was not blood and carnage everywhere.  I was on crutches for 4 months.  I came home in the spring time still on crutches and had to go shopping at Bill's Shop'n'Save with my mom for wedding shower food. 

It was a long and hard crutch around that store, so I decided to sit down and wait for my mom.  I picked out a donut (either sprinkle or glazed), paid for it, and sat at the front of the store on a bench.  An elderly grandmother type came and sat next to me.  She also had a hard time walking around the store.  I ate my donut and it was one of the best things I've ever eaten.  That moment of relaxing in the store eating a piece of heaven is one of those moments you notice and know you will remember forever. 

That's when one of my brother's friends who worked there walked up and accused me of stealing the donut and called me a cripple.  Per usual of his friends.

But, still, I did not forget that donut.  I went on a secret quest throughout Nashvile for the next 5 years, looking for it's southern equivalent.  About 7 months before Lilly was born and we moved, I discovered the closest I could get to a Bill's donut.  It was in a store on a very busy street, Murfreesboro Pike, on my way to work and home. The unfortunate part was that they closed at 1pm.  Which I found out after turning, in the rain, to go there, missing the drive and having to make not one but two left turns on a 6 lane road.  In the rain.  In case you haven't driven in the rain in the south, it's similar in danger levels and difficulty as driving in a snowstorm up here.  It just is. 

I never left home early enough to stop for donuts on the way to work. 

So I moved home.  Now I can have Bill's Donuts whenever I want. Except Fridays, when they sell out.  And that one time when Carly promised me Bill's donuts when I visited, but Bill's was closed so they got Lofthouse Sugar Cookies from Walmart instead.  A valiant effort, but not the same as those donuts.

They are made at night by a guy who's girlfriend I met at the Library.  He has a 10 month old daughter and 3 year old son.  They were also at the library.  They are cake donuts and they are amazing.  My favorites right now are the bear claws (I think they are called that).  They are brown and flaky with donut flake and filled with apple and cinnamon.  But not too much to be overwhelming, just enough filling that you know it's there.  And then it's covered in delicious glaze.  They are rectangular and the edges and corners get crispy, and then are covered in that glaze, making them extra crispy.  I like to pull the edges off and eat those first.  Then I like the sprinkle donuts because they are so colorful and pretty.  Bill's does the sprinkles in colors to match the season, the current holiday, and to match the local high school colors.  I usually choose the most colorful ones.  I like it when there are two main colors with a third sprinkle color, sprinkled in (if you will).    I like the light brown colored frosting for the sprinkled donuts.  You can also choose white or black.  The best donuts there of all of them are the sourdough ones.  When they are cooked they split open on the top, like a banana bread.  Then when they are covered in glaze extra glaze fills in the cracks and it hardens better.  The regular glazed cake donuts get a little soggy b/c the glaze will soften and get sticky in the humidity. 

My mom doesn't understand why I buy and eat so many donuts.  That's a lot of extra calories.  But I don't buy nutty bars or cheesy poofs or chocolate to eat.  I just buy donuts once a week when I do my grocery shopping.

On a side note, when I went to Bill's on Friday, at 2 pm, I found out that that's when all of the oldest of the old people do their shopping.  The store was FILLED with the elderly, pottering around, barely able to walk, with their clip boards and sale flyers.  I chatted with a lady who was shucking corn to make white bean chili and wanted to put the fresh corn in it. It just looked so good.  We discussed if 2 or 3 ears was enough.  Then I talked to the youngest person there, who informed me that her granddaughter just turned one year old that day!  And almost every single one of the people stops and talks to Lilly.  It was a busy day and there was a lot of managers working at Bill's.  In the back of the store I heard one guy saying he just hired 2 people and he was worried if it would work out or not.  He was pretty excited about it.  Then in line I heard two older gents discussing how they interviewed 4 people, three internal and one external, but no decisions were made yet.  I guess Friday is when Bill's does their hiring.  It's a good place to work b/c they have baggers still.  People who bag your groceries and then carry them out to your car for you with special bagger carts.  Lots of people who work there have worked there for 10+ years.  I always get inline where this guy, Nate, works.  I haven't gotten the courage up to talk to him yet, but I'm working on it.  I tried this time, to ask about the lack of delicious donuts, but he was busy and grumpy, and the bagger girl, Jess, talked to me instead.  She said she was disappointed too that they sold out b/c she eats them on her break. I think I will try to strike up a conversation with Jess next time too.  She carries my groceries out to my car a lot, so I should have some chances to discuss more than the weather.

Oh, when I say it was a busy day, I think it was, not because there were a lot of people there, but because old people like a lot of extra help.  Sending things back to the isles and getting the workers to grab what they really wanted to buy.  Stuff like that.  And of course, that sort of service and courtesy, is what gets them the customers.

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