I mooch off public television every every Sunday to watch "Antiques Road Show" and never feel compelled to call in and pledge a donation. The bakery does provide lunch to the public television volunteers twice a year during their campaign drive, but I'm pretty sure that doesn't entitle me to the general thanks to "viewers like you."
In fact, the bakery is as generous as possible when it comes to donating gift cards for fund raisers and other charitable events.
I purchase items at local charity thrift stores and silent auction fund raisers but draw the line at cash donations. When you own a small business, there is never enough cash and straight-out monetary donations are a luxury.
This year however, I ponied up cold hard cash in order to gain early admission to the University of Alabama Arboretum's annual spring plant sale. I could have held back an hour to enter with the general public. Or picked out my plants and simply waited to make my purchase.
There was something for everybody, every purpose and every yard. Annuals, perennials, full sun plants, shade plants, herbs, vegetables, flowers, vines, grasses, succulents, ordinary and extraordinary.
I saw practically every one I knew in town at the sale and we admired each other's plant selections and encouraged new choices. It was like a big social event where you also bought plants. The sun was shining, it was warm, and we were all very happy to be there.
By 1:30 I was planting herbs and annuals in the window boxes at the bakery, feeling downright giddy about the scent of lavender and basil greeting me in the morning, and the aroma herbed breads and pizza mingling with the "bakery smell."
Somehow plants from the Arboretum sale seem more "real" than plants from Lowe's or Home Depot. You feel like you are getting something special. I still need to visit The Plant Lady, Anders Hardware, the Northport Five and Dime, and some of the other local, independent businesses for filler plants, tools, and fertilizer. Maybe a new watering can and some gloves.