Lyrical Laughs

Saturday, October 7, 2017

More than just hitting the hot light

There are times when it can be difficult to think of what to write about. After all, not every moment of my life is chock full of fascinating events. This past week, however, my column was handed to me in the form of a gooey, glazed donut. Krispy Kreme came to town.

The first of its kind in the state of Maine, the “hot light” indicating the delivery of a warm, fresh batch of donuts was scheduled to light up at 6 a.m. Tuesday, October 3. I drove by Monday morning just to see how crazy – I mean dedicated – Krispy Kreme fans could be. There were already a few vehicles in the parking lot. I found out later in the day that the first customer, Alice, arrived at 3 a.m. to secure her spot, her adult daughter Amanda snagging the number two spot.

Out of curiosity, at the end of the day I paid a visit to those who had decided to camp out overnight. Already waiting customers were being entertained by a band. This place knows how to take care of its loyal fans.

What fascinated me was that most of the folks I spoke to had never even tasted a Krispy Kreme donut, but they knew someone who did.  Yet there they were with blankets and sleeping bags, ready to rough it on the ground of a cold parking lot (no cars were allowed). Temps were heading for the low 40s later that night.

The first person in line will receive one dozen donuts a week for a year, while the next 99 get a dozen donuts a month. That’s a pretty good incentive for hanging out all night, but Alice – Customer Number One – had a better one. Her coveted position at the head of the line guaranteed that she would hit the hot light for the first time on Tuesday morning.

All of this talking about such dedication made me think about donuts. Then it made me think about lines, and what I would be willing to wait in line for. At my age, if there isn’t a restroom in the immediate vicinity, all bets are off. But in the past, I’ve done my share of waiting in line, as I’m sure many of you have.

Back in the olden days, otherwise known as my teen years, I waited in line for concert tickets at the mall. There was no ordering online then. You were at the mercy of the mall hours and you usually had to bring a friend so your place in line was safe if you needed to step away for a few minutes.

I’ve never waited in line to get a much-desired Christmas present, though I have been laughed at by a store clerk when I asked if they had a toy that was long ago wrestled off the shelves.
As close as I've gotten so far

This particular day wasn’t just about waiting in line for a donut. Just a few years ago, the first two people in line at Krispy Kreme – mother and daughter – might have never had the chance to share this crazy experience. As a pregnant teen, Alice had given her baby, born on Christmas day, up for adoption. It will be four years this Christmas since Alice and Amanda were reunited for the first time in close to three decades. It struck me chatting with them that they may have been strangers until just recently, but the smiles on their faces and their obvious, natural bond made little moments like the opening of a donut shop pretty special for them.

I watched Krispy Kreme’s opening on the news Tuesday morning instead of choosing to stand in the line that snaked around the parking lot for my first taste of donuty decadence, but I’m glad I stopped by the day before to find out what brought people out. You never know what you might learn when you ask what motivates someone to wait in line. I hope hitting Krispy Kreme’s hot light will be a mother-daughter moment that Alice and Amanda can smile about for many years to come.

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