After all, I thought to myself, they have to endure the cold every day. They get wet and slog through snow and slip on ice and blink through snowflakes, while I get to stay at home with hot chocolate and a lot of blankets. Which is, realistically, not all that different from how I live in the month of July. (I am really only warm when sitting on black asphalt in the 90 degree August heat. But that is neither here nor there.)
Aha! I thought. Food is a morale booster! Everybody loves a food day at work! And while champagne toasts may not be the ticket, baking some cupcakes is the least I can do to bring some joy into this cold, wintry mess.
So I made thee most beautiful batch of red velvet cupcakes you've ever seen. I mixed them for the right amount of time. I baked them in beautiful wrappers. I made homemade frosting, slaving over a hot stove to make a roux, then mixing in sugar and vanilla and shortening. I got out my cake decorating box of goodies and piped beautiful circular mounds of frosting onto each cupcake.
Then, feeling quite satisfied with the outcome and rather proud of myself for my creativity, I Instagrammed a picture of the little wonders, complete with the following caption, "Took a little break over lunch to make the dairy guys some red velvet cupcakes. They are no Kellee Zweifel creations, but maybe it will make them think of something other than ice, snow, and cold for a few minutes. #thankafarmer"
Later in the day, when Chris and I headed to town for our meeting, we swung past the dairy to check on how things were going and to drop off my illustrious cupcakes. As we pulled in, we saw two employees braving the weather to move snow, one in a tractor and one in a skid steer.
I stepped out of the truck with two pans of cupcakes in tow. I kicked the door closed with my foot. I headed toward the office behind Chris. Then I heard the horn on the skid steer. I turned around to see the skid steer driver giving me a sad look, his hands upraised, undoubtedly asking me with his eyes, "What? No cupcakes for me? But it's so cold. And I am working so hard!"
Ever ready to please, I trotted his way, eager to deliver--right to the skid steer's door--a little sweet treat to this hardworking young man.
And then I wiped out.
The cupcakes went up.
I went down.
The man driving the tractor stopped. The man in the skid steer looked horrified. Chris came rushing over.
Twenty-four cupcakes made the trek from the little house on the dairy. Twenty-four beautiful, frosted red velvet cupcakes.
And now, only four remained.
Twenty lay in the snow, covered in gravel and straw.
I let out a wail not unlike the wronged heroes in epic battles. I had icing--somehow--on my face. And my gloves. I turned to Chris and tried to bargain with him like Abraham interceding with the Lord for Sodom. "What if only 10 good ones remain? What if only 8? Are there even five?"
By then the two young men had scooped up the remaining four--while, proving that chivalry is not yet dead, not even laughing at my Nancy Kerrigan-esque pirouette on the ice--and eaten two of them.
Blackjack, the dog, scarfed down 20.
And now, only these two remain: faith, hope. No, wait.
Only two cupcakes remain.
The few, the proud, the red velvet.
So now I have a banged up shoulder. And an only slightly damaged pride. And if today is any indicator, tomorrow's lunchtime baking adventure will include, what else?, humble pie.