Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Sunday Bread

The Sunday Bread

I love nostalgic stories.
Here is my bread story.
It is thirty years old.
I had just arrived in New Zealand.

I was flatting in an apartment with four others.
By virtue of his age, the leader of the pack assumed his role.
He laid down quite a few rules.
Without rules, he said, there would be chaos.

Every Sunday morning, Leader wakes us to go to church.
Two older ones ignore him.
Two of us younger ones follow him blindly.
I was one of them.

We walked, miles and miles.
Yes, we did a lot of walking.
Buses were not frequent on Sundays.
And where we walked to, were not on the bus route.

After church, we made a big detour.
Just to buy Leader's Sunday bread.
I protested walking all that distance.
To get that loaf of Sunday bread.

What's the big deal I asked?
You will know when you bite into it!
There were long queues at the bakery.
Your nose follows the waft of freshly baked beard.

Everyone pays and gets his loaf of bread.
Hang on, wait a minute! Where's the wrapper?
There is no need for a wrapper, paper or plastic.
The Kiwis hold their Sunday bread with their bare hands.

We walk all the way back.
I grumble again, all the dirt and the dust.
I am not going to eat that bread.
What's wrong with the commercially baked, sliced and bagged bread.

Leader cuts uneven thick slices of bread.
We spread the bread with a knob of butter.
Isn't it delicious asked the leader?
I devour my slice of bread in silence.

Either we are hungry with all that walking,
Or the Sunday bread was really yummy.
The loaf of bread is quickly eaten.
There is no crumbs for the sparrows.

The weekly ritual goes on for a year.
Leader leaves the flat.
Nobody is willing to walk so far,
Just for that loaf of Sunday bread.

It's good bye to the Sunday Bread.
Except, whenever I drive passed that bakery.
I tell my husband and my kids.
I reminisced of that uncut, unwrapped loaf of Sunday bread.

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