Measured Extravagance

2000-12-05 - 10:40 p.m.

If I ever feel the need to stage a coup at my office, I now know the opiate that I must bring to the masses: Cora Lee English toffee.

I had heard the toffee spoken about in hushed tones for the past month or so, ever since our office manager faxed in the order for the company's Christmas gifts. An extra two-pound box for the breakroom was included. Our general manager planned it into her holiday diet. The quotations guru would get a manic gleam in her eye every time the topic of Christmas goodies came up, and the word "toffee" would hang in the air like a floating drop shot.

I hadn't realized that it was a religious experience until today. Around 9:30 a.m. we got a phone call from a local vendor thanking us for the package. By 11:00 I was beginning to fear for the life of the UPS man if the magic package did not materialize when he loaded. When the box arrived, it was gleefully sliced open with both reverence and haste, accompanied by shrieks of anticipation, followed by muffled moans of satisfaction as the precious fragments of the communion of caramel, chocolate and nuts melted inside eager mouths.

And yes, I partook of my share of the bounty, and feared that I had spoiled my appetite for the Thanksgiving dinner my mother-in-law was preparing for us - yes, I know it's past Advent Sunday, but my mother-in-law felt like stuffing a turkey anyway. And blessings on her for it: By the time I'd finished raiding the shelves of Tower Books (store-closing sale, 40% off everything except periodicals), my appetite was back with fork and knife a-wavin', so I tucked in and gave thanks for the bird and the stuffing, the mashed potatoes, the sweet potatoes, the cranberry sauce, the brussels sprouts, the clear water and the fresh coffee, and the hands that cooked and served it all.

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