Purple Rain and The Bakery
Yesterday I read that Prince passed away and the Minnesotan in me felt it deeply.
And then, later in the day, I came across this article about the closing of one of my favorite college places in Farmville, Virginia and the Lancer in me felt that even more (until late last night when Rob and I crawled into bed and tearfully watched video of people in Minneapolis flooding the streets surrounding First Avenue and singing Purple Rain together). I don't know if it was nostalgia layered onto that tie we feel to celebrities who touch us (and then leave us too soon) or what, but I found myself feeling incredibly emotional over everything--bakeries and musicians alike.
The Bakery was a small French shop full of gorgeous bread and shelves stocked with olive oils, vinegars, honey, crackers, and every other gourmet snack you could think of. The baguette sandwiches came out with a napkin folded lengthwise and wrapped around the center, and they made the best panini that was pressed until crispy and loaded with prosciutto, tomato, mozzarella, and fresh basil. They had wonderful croissants in a pastry case by the window--plain ones and chocolate ones and almond ones and my favorite, which was either cheese or apple or maybe even apricot. I think it's so funny how I can remember that it was one of the best things I've ever eaten but I can't remember what flavor it was. People might not remember what you said, but they'll remember how you made them feel, I've heard; and I guess it's the same with croissants.
The coffee wasn't very good but I always got it anyway, and the owner was a sweet French man with an accent who went to mass every Sunday at the Catholic church in town. They were closed on Mondays and I don't think we ever bought wine there because we were either underage (and had cheap vodka stockpiled at the apartment) or it was out of our college kid budget.
The Bakery is one of the only college memories I have that doesn't really include Rob--it was a place I shared almost exclusively with my roommates (and later, my mom)--which looking back now I kind of like. Caroline and I would go for sandwiches and it always felt so special. Raquel and I once bought meat and cheese and olives and brought it back home for an indoor picnic lunch. And on a rainy morning, roommates with me or not, I couldn't resist stopping by for a fresh croissant before class. It was a quaint little place full of character and tiled floors, and it was probably just one of two or three places in Farmville that actually served good food.
I reminisced about it all day yesterday and even daydreamed about stopping by this weekend (we'll be in Richmond for a wedding), but I know we'll be too busy and I think it would just make me more sad. Sometimes there's no time for a final walk-through or croissant and the making of one last memory. Sometimes we just have to do the best with what we have.