Late Nights (or Early Mornings?) with Ennio
This week, Gabe remembers joining Ennio on his midnight baking shifts.
I have been working alongside my family at Christies for almost a quarter of my life, though I suppose you could say it's always been a part of me. I know there are pictures of a baby Gabe in the bakery in someones’ photo album. Even in high school, I would come to Saskatoon in the summer and take care of the deliveries and bus tables. But every once in a while when I would visit as a kid, I would join my Papa Ennio on his midnight shifts at the bakery. If my memory serves me right, every night went the same way.
I’ve never been an early riser so I don’t know how he got me up at 2:00 AM, but whether it was with a firm shove or promise of fresh cinnamon buns, we would get to the bakery when all of Saskatoon was still snoring. The first task was flipping on a tiny TV, usually to a repeating display of sports news. When Tracey would join the screen would magically change to show classic black and white flicks. Then it was time to put on the apron, and for a tiny, growing human that meant folding it over and looping the tie over and over. Still, the bottom of the apron hit the floor.
I wasn’t strong enough to help with the mixing, so that probably meant getting a cookie to hold me over. As a matter of fact, I distinctly remember helping with the cinnamon buns, but I couldn’t tell you what I actually did. My tiny hands weren’t of much use so maybe Ennio just pretended my attempts at shaping the dough were doing something. But in that moment, it was just the two of us and the faint sounds of sports highlights, making cinnamon buns.
After all that hard work it was time for a little break. So I’d head off to the office for a rest in the chair. Despite my best efforts, a rest meant falling back asleep. And when I’d wake up, the bakery would be full of life. The sun was glowing through the windows, bakers would be chatting and moving sheets of pastries in and out of the oven, and the air was filled with the warm scent of fresh bread.
Just like that, as I was yawning and finally waking up, it was time to go. Of course I took a cinnamon bun for all the hard work I did. And even though we’d get back to the house and I probably fell back asleep, I did get to have that special moment: in the silence of the night, standing next to my Papa Ennio, doing what our family does best.
As you know, we're turning 90 this year. As part of our celebration, we're sharing memories of the bakery from family, friends, staff and our wonderful customers. If you have a story you'd like to share, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org - we'd love to hear it!
Have a fond memory of Christies Bakery? Send us an email at email@example.com!