It’s the day of the Great Pakenham Photo Shoot, a day months in the anticipation. Today I’ll finally get the shot I need at the Pakenham General Store, about an hour west of Ottawa and famous for their bakery. The photo is to illustrate a National Treasures blog about butter tarts, so this is serious business.
We’re just back from our snowbird digs, and have come “up the Valley” to visit the sugar bush and run an errand for friends. It might seem like the Great Pakenham Photo Shoot is piggybacking on other activities, but for me it’s the main event of the day.
A working one-ton pickup truck pulls into the curb just ahead of us. Excited to be nearing my target, I’m feeling a little frisky as I hop out the car and stride towards the granite steps leading into the store. A 30-something guy gets out of the truck.
I glance at him, quicken my stride, and say, “I’m going to be first. There might not be any tarts left for you.”
Buddy doesn’t flicker. Oops.
Playing smart-alecky games with a stranger is tinged with uncertainty — Will he get it? Will he laugh? Will he retort, upping the ante in unpredictable ways? Will he smack me upside the head? — but that slight edginess is what makes it fun.
Or not, when he doesn’t react. Oh well.
Pretending nothing untoward has happened, I climb smartly up the stairs, squeeze the old-fashioned handleset, and pull on the heavy wooden door. I’m not looking back at this point — no more ill-advised chit chat for me, no siree — but buddy is right behind me. Is it my imagination that his silence is slightly reproachful?
As I wrestle the door open, he shouts over my head, “I’ll take all the tarts.”