For two weeks one summer when I was a teenager, I worked behind the counter at the local bakery. It was late in the summer, and the bakery had lost some of its help, so they were short-handed. The couple who owned and ran the bakery were somewhat dour, but their baked goods were out of this world.
As the wife of the owner showed me around, I noticed that in the display case, each cookie had a different price. I thought, “How am I ever going to remember all those prices?” (I was surprised that in a very short time, I could remember then all.)
Although it was just a “mom and pop” shop, they ran it efficiently and well. Someone had drawn cartoons that were pinned up on the walls; one of a woman running with a hot pie that was dripping purple juice. The legend read, “Be careful—our pies are juicy!”
There were several others, but the one that stuck in my mind was a picture of a large doughnut with a small frowning man looking at it. The legend read, “Remember to look at the doughnut; not the hole!”
I think of that saying nearly every day. Have you noticed that some people are so micro-focused on the tiniest little detail that they miss the larger, more important details? There are those of us who concentrate their attention on those things that are wrong, and seem to miss all that is right.
I am one to become become obsessed with minute little details, and I have to stop and remember that doughnut hole. Take for example my stand on things left where they shouldn’t be, and things not there that should be.
For example, when the Crankee Yankee needs to sweep up a small mess, he may take the dustpan and broom that’s hanging on the wall going downstairs to the basement. When I need them, they could be in the basement on his work table, upstairs where we are renovating, outside on the deck, etc.
I got so irritated that I couldn’t find the dang thing when I needed it that I bought three sets of them; one for the basement, one for the deck, and one for the upstairs. The original one is where it’s supposed to be; for now, anyway.
Well, it sort of worked; sometimes they are all where they should be, sometimes not. But here’s my “take-away” on it: I have a husband who is a handyman’s handyman; he can do just about anything. He is so focused on what he’s doing that anything he puts his mind to comes out well.
Because of his skills, we have saved thousands of dollars on home repair and renovation, and he is quick to help our neighbors when they need help as well. He is the first one to notice a hungry stray and put food out for it. In the summer when we have the raised bed gardens, he always has time to chat with passersby who have questions about how to start their own raised beds. Plus he gives away produce generously.
So whenever I think of my short stint in the local bakery so many years ago, I remember that cartoon doughnut. I remind myself to focus on the whole doughnut, and forget the hole in it. After all, it’s the “doughnut” that matters, isn’t it?