Great Harvest Bread is a blessing to our community and should be allowed to share its goodness by selling us bread at our Farmers’ Market. I think Dan Haley’s arguments are both accurate and persuasive, but I will take just one a step further. It is not just our students from OPRF and other schools in the community who get to stop by after school for delicious freebies. Anybody who is hungry is given a free slice, just for the asking.

Yet here is another reason we should support Great Harvest so they don’t have to close down. They really care for their customers, and as the saying goes, delight in rising to the occasion. I blew it recently. I had promised to bake and buy a few trays of cookies for a new member reception at Grace Lutheran. We had been welcomed at their last new member event, and having been invited to join the Board of Fellowship, it just seemed like the thing to do. Besides, I like baking cookies.

When it came to the week I should have been enjoying myself in the company of butter, flour, and sugar, as well as a few important extras, I forgot. I totally blanked out. This is a true confession for which I am yet to ask for absolution.

It was way past 10 p.m. in the evening on Saturday night, and it dawned on me that not long after the sun came up the next morning, my cookies would be expected at Grace. It was late at night and I was also preaching at another congregation that Sunday. There was no way I could bake, or even shop for goodies.

My knight in shining armor, the wonderful and supportive man I married 24 years ago, saved the day. But he couldn’t do it without the help of our friends at Great Harvest. Since Dan’s son, who is a baker there, is our son’s best friend, and because of my Bob’s frequent shopping there for great bread, I have the privilege of calling them friends. I was a friend in need that night, and I was rescued from my failure, one that would have caused me great public shame.

Bob called Great Harvest and as the sun was rising, he picked up the baked goods I had failed to provide. It was no small thing for him, and they were delighted to come to our assistance. And it also wasn’t a small last-minute request. I received an e-mail from the chair of Grace’s fellowship board yesterday thanking me for the tasty pleasures that were enjoyed by our members, both old and new.

Reading Dan Haley’s article early this morning reminded me to share the gratitude and compliments with Bob, and to tell him about the struggles at Great Harvest. Somehow in that conversation I learned that the order he placed came to around $100. That amount of money equals a lot of last-minute baking. I don’t know if we will have the need to spend that much money there anytime soon, but I plan on stopping in to buy a loaf of bread today.

I have been out of town or otherwise occupied every Saturday morning, and that will be the case again this week, so I haven’t been to the Farmers’ Market yet this year. Hopefully I can enjoy this experience next week. But I won’t be buying bread, for no matter how good their product, there is just no way a bakery in Wicker Park can meet my last-minute need. And I just refuse to ask the love of my life to leave the neighborhood we love just to save me from a last-minute embarrassment.

I hope to run into you at Great Harvest, and of course you are always welcome to join us at Grace Lutheran where we also provide daily bread just for the asking.

Join the discussion on social media!