A Necessary Experience

Oct 6, 2012 by

San Francisco, USA
One might say that there are any number of experiences in life, in travel, that are just absolutely necessary, unmissable, completely requisite. In my friend Kathy’s opinion, holding fresh French bread, hot out of the oven, might just fall into that category of necessity.
On my last night in San Francisco this summer, Kathy, Janet and I had dinner, followed by drinks and dancing at San Fran’s oldest bar. The three of us had a ball, and it was one of my favourite evenings of the entire 8 day trip. 
At the end of the night, we had to walk back to Kathy’s car. There was a big festival that weekend, and parking in the area meant parking far from anything we actually wanted to be near. On our walk back, we chatted, recalled some of the men at the bar, admired shop windows, and peered at some of the festival stands in the street, closed down for the night. It was then, in our ambling, meandering and gossiping, that Janet and I realized we had lost sight of Kathy. 
It didn’t make sense. She had been right there. She was behind me the whole way, taking her time looking at the sights of a San Francisco evening. 
“Kathy?” I said, looking around us. I couldn’t see her anywhere.
I immediately wondered if she’d twisted her ankle and fallen, and we were just out of ear shot. 
“Kathy?” I said a bit louder this time. Janet too began to seem a bit nervous about Kathy’s whereabouts.
“She was right behind us,” Janet said, not understanding where Kathy went.
That really dark side of my brain wondered if she’d been jumped, and we hadn’t heard… 
Was Kathy okay?
Just as I yelled Kathy’s name a third time, this time with a little more diaphragm backing me, Kathy appeared from around the corner of a building a block away. She was coming up the hill with a big brown paper bag, hugged tightly against her chest. Her grin reached from ear to ear.
“Kathy, where did you go?” I said, as she made her way towards us.
“I followed my nose,” she said. She caught the scent of baking and followed it, finding her way to a local bakery where the baker had just made a batch of French bread. He had just taken the rolls out of the oven, a wood-fired oven no less, a detail which made the bread that much better for Kathy to have found. The baker was friendly and hadn’t planned on keeping the bread, so he asked her how much she wanted.
“Three,” she said, having counted each of us in her head.
Then she hurried back to find us.
I could feel the warmth of the bread through the paper bag. As the night was getting cold, I saw this as a timely find on Kathy’s part. She held the bread tightly, not feeling a single chill.
Then she said to me, “Colleen, hold the bread.”
“That’s okay. It’s keeping you warm.” After all, I had a cotton blazer on and a scarf, a little more than her light floral dress.
“No, really,” she insisted. “You must try this. You must have the experience of holding hot bread, straight out of the oven.”
So, on Kathy’s orders, I did. I held that bread, and it warmed me all the way back to the car.

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  1. I like these random little glimpses. 🙂 And fresh baked French bread is something special, mmm!

  2. San Francisco and French bread what a great combination

  3. Thanks ladies! I love that we all have an appreciation for French bread.

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