Really, Mrs. P? I mean, I appreciate that you called and told me how you felt. But at 1:00 in the morning?
I wish you’d called earlier, like maybe after the first or second time I stopped in hoping to meet you, unsuccessfully, and left my card. I understand it’s hard, the hours you work, so I tried calling three other times when I was told you’d be in, only you weren’t.
So I stopped by a third time, at 9:30 one night, to tell you what I’d told two very sweet and helpful employees: That I’m doing a series on old-time Kalihi eateries, and knowing that you’ve been there for decades and your stuff is so good, I was hoping to feature your story. Only I missed you again.
That’s when you called me at 1 in the morning. I apologize for my voice being raspy. I was actually asleep. But I got your point: You’re a small business. You’re running at capacity in a tiny space and your workers are working as hard as they can. You’re not interested in being featured.
What’s making this so hard for me is the value-to-buzz ratio. Yours is off the charts. Most people have never heard of you, and yet your cookies are light and impossibly tall — a good three-quarters of an inch — and lovingly rolled in crunchy pecans when pecans aren’t even the star. Your fruity bread loaves are topped with the thinnest layer of icing, a finishing detail that holds in moisture and flavor. And I haven’t even mentioned your signature items.
You care. It shows. You put more famous competitors to shame. And I can’t tell anyone.
It goes against so much of what I am. When I come across a worthy find I want to spread the word: that for those who don’t yet know, there’s a happy corner of the universe where thanks to skilled and loving hands, taste buds will be rewarded.
It goes against nothing in my grain to quash a story that’s not worth telling. I’ve done it many times. I’m not out to hurt any small business, including yours, even if that means not trumpeting your praises, even if that goes against my grain.
I wanted to tell you all this, Mrs. P, because I didn’t get a chance during our short conversation. My thoughts at that hour were running around trying to collect themselves, and you didn’t seem in a talkative mood anyway.
That’s all I wanted to say.
P.S. I’m coming back for those cookies.
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