Community in a box

31 Mar

“Is that tiramisu in there?”

“Maybe carrot cake, my favorite?”

“Must be a special day!”

“Whatever it is, mmmmmm!”

These are unsolicited comments I received as I zipped from errand to errand this morning. All because I was carrying a baby shoe sized box with a burnished rectangular label. Everyone recognized I was holding something delicious from Sweet Life Patisserie, a Eugene Oregon bakery that’s both funky and exquisite in its offerings.

Today is my husband’s birthday, and while we two empty nesters can’t (or rather shouldn’t!) eat a whole cake, it’s not a birthday without something sweetly out of the ordinary. So I had dropped by Sweet Life to select a single perfect serving of just one amazing dessert. As always, no matter what the state of the economy or what the season, the place was humming with activity.

Sprinkled like sugar on mundane tasks, the little conversations that followed made me smile over and over again.  These exchanges reminded me that communities have their own unique shorthand of symbols that connect us with a given place. In Eugene, a Sweet Life box symbolizes something worth celebrating. Ask anyone in town: I’m confident they’ll agree, even if they don’t like sweets! It’s wonderful how the act of expressing our affection for shared community symbols makes us feel even more connected. So basic, so powerful!

So what was in the box? It was a thick slice of creamy cheesecake topped with chunky marionberry sauce! Mmmmmm!