Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Breaking bread

Freshly baked
Dollard-des-Ormeaux, QC
June 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
The other morning, we stopped at the bakery near our old house in the Dollard-des-Ormeaux suburb on Montreal's West Island before getting back on the highway and pointing Stella home. Tough times call for comfort food, so we loaded up on bagels, knishes, danishes and a few other things that might bring a temporary light to our little family. The car smelled like home the entire way to London.

The woman who served us had kindness etched into her face, and gently asked about my wife when she asked where we were from and why we were making such a large order. That's the great thing about places like this: It's never an anonymous transaction. They chat. They learn a little about you. They care.

I've written about this special place, Yagel Bagel, before, as it was a beacon of the neighborhood when we lived here. When our eldest was a baby and our other two kids were mere dreams for the future, this was where I walked him in the stroller on Sunday mornings, after which we'd stroll back home and have brunch. When you're a new parent, small luxuries matter, and even something as simple as Sunday brunch became a critical moment amid weeks that often seemed endless and restless.

That tiny munchkin gets married in a couple of months. The table around which we so often gathered for brunch sadly has some empty spots around it now. Time only moves forward, and life is fleeting. But if our little pit stop amid a hard journey has taught us anything, it is that traditions are constantly being made, and we lead richer lives by choosing to hold onto those traditions - and the people and their surrounding memories - for as long as we can. If you remember what made those moments special in the first place, you never really lose them.

Indeed, the stack of warm bread you see here is probably stale by now. But the feeling I get when I see the photo is timeless. I won't be letting go of that anytime soon.

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