Jingle Bell Rock played in the background as Veronica was putting the sugar topping on her latest batch of snicker doodles. She slides the loaded cookie sheet into the oven and sets the timer. The door chime alerted as Lillian came back from her lunch break. She clocked in and went over to the sink to wash her hands before starting to prepare her caramel coconut cookie bars.
The sugary smell of baked cookies permeated the bake shop. Lillian commented on how good the snicker doodles were coming along. Veronica replied " This is my prized recipe and nothing's going to stop these from winning." Lillian politely raised her brows and continued to cut the cookies bars into equal portions. Lillian gingerly places each bar onto the cookie sheet so they evenly bake.
A customer walks in and Lillian ushers over to assist them. Veronica retrieves her snicker doodles from the oven and checks on Lillian's batch. Veronica tweaks the timer without physically checking the cookie bars. Lillian comes back into the kitchen momentarily to check on her batch. She opens the oven door and inserts a toothpick to test the consistency. The toothpick resists to go into the cookie bars. Lillian grabs two oven mitts to retrieve her batch. She takes a deep sigh and salvages what she can of the cookie bars.
Meanwhile, Veronica is hamming it up with a customer out front, selling baked goods to her hearts content. The day continues until 6pm rolls around. The two ladies finish up with the last customers and commence to close up shop for the day. They hurry up so they can both arrive at the local charity cookie drive on time.
Veronica proudly walks in with her tray of golden brown snicker doodles and places them in the center of the table.
Lillian is next to follow with her neatly arranged stack of cookie bars.
People flock to the table of goodies as the evening progresses. The snicker doodles are snatched up one by one; whereas, the cookie bars are sampled with Kidd gloves. Veronica is silently gloating while Lillian observes that others are treating her cookie bars like a biscotti in a hot cup of coffee.
Veronica gathers up her empty cookie sheet, thanks everybody, and then brushes by Lillian as she heads out the door. Lillian receives constructive remarks on her cookie bars such as adding white chocolate chips or macadamia nuts. She graciously accepts the comments. She gathers up her empty cookie display container and heads out the door.
The next day at the bake shop, Veronica snaps at Lillian because she didn't push the chocolate graham crackers. Lillian finishes up with her customer and switches gears by rearranging the cookie displays. Veronica still lashes out at Lillian by commenting that she always knows how to promote the displays. Veronica then hastily gathers her belongings and heads out for her appointment. Lillian takes a deep sigh and continues to do what she loves to do. Lillian helps herself to the chocolate graham crackers by using them to construct a gingerbread house. She loses herself in the moment and adorns the structure with intricate detail. While the gingerbread house sets up, Lillian goes into the office to create a sign to promote various baked goods. The door chime alarms and Veronica comes racing through the bake shop, plopping her belongings down. She glances around and lets out a scream.
“What is this?”
Lillian nonchalantly walks out of the office and replies that she is promoting the chocolate graham crackers. Veronica says that the gingerbread house is unacceptable, and that the idea would not sell. Seconds later, a group of school teachers walk into the bake shop to purchase baked goods for their classrooms. They notice the gingerbread house and order several of them so they can create a Christmas village for the school children. Veronica is flabbergasted and storms back into the kitchen. Lillian locks the kitchen door from the outside and continues to assist the school teachers. She arranges a time and day for the teachers to pick up the gingerbread houses. Each teacher then pays for their baked goods and leaves the bake shop. Lillian then unlocks the kitchen door, and continues to straighten the bakery displays. While Lillian is counting the register till, Veronica is blaring “Blue Christmas” from the music player in the kitchen as she compiles the components for the gingerbread houses. Lillian finishes the closing procedures up front, and hands the work order for the gingerbread houses to Veronica. Veronica rolls her eyes, and takes the slip of paper. Lillian goes back out front, gathers her belongings, and locks the main door behind her.
The next day, Lillian walks into the bake shop and the gingerbread houses are neatly arranged on the prep table. She also notices a note beside them. It read “You can have the bake shop.” It was signed in scribble. Lillian sets up and starts to compose a rough draft so she can look for a part time assistant.
Ironically, the day went smoothly and one of the school teachers stopped in to pick up the gingerbread houses. She also had a few leads by word of mouth so those to wanted to work at the bake shop. Lillian didn't rule out anybody at first but after a series of interviews, she wanted serious inquiries only.
Days went by, and with a consistent routine, Lillian could manage mostly by herself. She eventually found a retired cook who was interested in the bake shop. For this, Lillian was grateful. The retired cook by the name of Bessie was structured, friendly, and reliable. Bessie also had a creative flair for ideas in which Lillian liked. Bessie's strudels and fried pies increased the traffic flow of the bake shop. Even customers were more relaxed and less rushed with the changings of the guards.
All in all, the holiday season at the bake shop was successful. Persistence and patience pays off.