A Loaf Of Laughter 

Sarah Duroy


© Copyright 1999 by Sarah Duroy

Photo of a loaf of home made bread.

As the unseen cloud drifts a flow of warm baked bread into my sinuses it causes my mind to reel back to the uncomplicated and comfortable time of childhood. It is funny how a logging truck can trigger that same memory. Only my family could have originated that type of response from anything. We were and still are the most unique folks I have ever know.

I stop in front of the bakery near the busy side walk mall. Standing in a catatonic state for a while as my mind s journey begins. It is a warm,breezy Sunday afternoon. Myself, I am ten years old. I live in a large white framed house built by my great-grandfather in the 1920's. My family is seated at the dinning room table. The gathering consist of my father and three sisters. The windows in the dinning room are open and a comfortable breeze is blowing through the curtains. We sit patiently waiting for my mother to descend from the kitchen with our evening meal. This afternoon she had been busy making homemade bread. We saw it rising in the window sill when we were outside swinging and climbing around in the Mimosa tree in the back of the house near the kitchen.

I think my mother had made bread only one other time in her life. It had been the day before.

She rounded the corner of the dinning room and presented the loaf of bread to us. She held it out as if it were a jewel being given to the first born of a royal family. She escorted it to the table with a small dish of margarine and a butter knife. As she placed it in the center of the table she did not speak but turned to each of us with a smile. The bread looked great and smelled like heaven to a couple of played out and hungry children. She turned and headed back to the kitchen for the remainder of our supper, I notice a little bounce in her walk. My mother was proud of that loaf of bread.

We lived in a small town. My Grandmother also known as Memaw lived across the street from us. MeMaw had happened into a good deal while shopping at the local grocery store, Turner-Wise's. Now this store was also known to the locals as just Turner's. It was one of the four business located on main street in a very old building. The floors were made of wood. If your mode of transportation to town was a horse, and I am sure there were still a few, you could hitch a horse up out front of the store.

Now, upon arrival to Turner's, if you had luck on your side you may get to shop using one of the four shopping baskets. You could be certain one of the wheels would touch the ground as you rolled along the unleveled wood planked floor.

Turner's employed a real butcher. It was always the same man. He sported a white hat shaped like a side ways boat and an apron with blood splatter on it. On many occasions my Memaw would send us into the store as she waited in the car to retrieve some rubber bread and a soup bone. I noted that if you knew the butcher by his first name he would give you a soup bone with some meat on it.

The germs on the counter at Turner-Wise's must have been appetizing to a four or five year old. Memaw had real nice long thick red nails. I remember them well because she could get a pinch on your leg just above you knee for licking that counter while waiting to have your bill written up. We never paid cash we just got a monthly grocery bill.

Memaw was an avid user of Ivory soap, this caused the inability of her to pass up the free deal. If you purchased three bars of Ivory soap at Turner's that day you would also receive a free toy log truck which had four real plastic logs that rode in the back.

Memaw had come over with the truck for us earlier that day. My first youngest sister was pushing the log truck around her plate on the dinning room table as we waited for mom to bring out the food.

All of the sudden my father grabs his fork and scoops up one of the plastic logs from the back end of the toy truck and says " Look out Frank, you're gonna loose her, shes comin' off, the log is comin' down!" At the same time he ran that toy log all through my mothers loaf of bread. We laughed uncontrollably as steam rolled from the open portions of the demolished bread. Looking back it was all very inappropriate and I guess that is what made it even funnier. If it was our father doing it, then it was all right. As our good spirited mother joined the table we laughed and ate dinner accompanied by bits of jagged and torn bread.

The next day as I sat in my fifth grade class at Roark Elementary School, listening to Ms. Colland read to us from our history book. I began thinking about what happen with the bread the night before. It caused me to start laughing. Ms. Colland ask if I would like to stand and tell the class what was so funny. I said I would. At the time I really thought the class would enjoy it. I thought it extremely funny and a bit more interesting than history. I told my story and spent the rest of the afternoon standing in the hall.

As I came back around I started to open the double glass doors to the bakery and then let it slowly slip out of my hand and close. I turned toward the large chain grocery store at the other end of the shopping center. I gathered the items needed to make my first loaf of homemade bread and headed home.

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