Day after day, while Paul and I were in Ukraine for Katya's adoption, we walked from our apartment up the street, past a McDonald's and went down the steps into the Metro. As we would go down the steps, we would walk past various people selling their wares. A few potatoes still coated lightly with black Ukraine soil, a handful of carrots, with the tops starting to slightly whither in the heat, a sprig of flowers plucked from the road side and tucked into a canning jar.
One lady always caught our attention. Dressed each day in the same impeccably clean clothing with a snowy white apron, her wares were home made breads and pastries spread out on an absolutely snow-white cloth, and a few flowers plucked from her garden. I always smiled because it was obvious she took a healthy pride in herself and her products, and I could imagine her bustling around early in her kitchen in order to get things ready and be to the Metro in time to catch the early morning commuters! After all, we were there around 8:00 AM most days and she had the appearance of someone who had already settled in for the day for awhile!
After observing her for the first two weeks, I told Paul, "I want to try some of her breads!" And so we did. They were every bit as tasty as they looked, and we only regretted we had not started purchasing them sooner during our stay there. After our first purchase, the lady was definitely happy to see us coming along! She was happy when I let her know through gestures and my limited Russian that we really liked her baked goods! Her round face would beam and her eyes twinkle!
The memory of sitting at the tiny table in our apartment, eating her bread with butter and cheese, and then the chocolate filled pastry, while looking out the window at the linden trees, lingers in my heart.
I still think about that lady, and wonder how the war and the stresses of life in Ukraine right now have affected her. I would give a lot if I could walk down that street, head down the steps into the Metro and see if I could find her again.