I've had several brilliant careers in my threescore years and ten plus. One of those careers was owner of a bakery. It was a wholesale bakery where the kids and I made pies for about 21 restaurants in two counties as well as carrot cake and cinnamon rolls for convenience stores.
My sweet husband, Derrill, built the little shack next to our old farmhouse into a commercial kitchen for me. He'd haunt restaurant supply auctions, and in the course of the bakery's existence (15 sleep-deprived years), he got miraculous deals on a commercial 6-burner range, 2 commercial convection ovens, a walk-in refrigerator, a sheeting machine for rolling pie crusts and cinnamon roll dough, and...(drum roll, please)...a 30 quart Hobart mixer that was probably older than I was at the time. I guess it's still older than I am, and that's a bit scary, because it's still in use.
One day, my delivery person wasn't able to take pies around, so I did both the baking and delivery. I stopped at the Dairy Queen for a coke to help keep me awake, since I'd been up baking since two a.m. Sitting in the drive-up window, I was fidgeting with my rings, and I suddenly became aware that they felt different. I looked down, and there, where the diamond usually sat in my engagement ring, was a diamond-size ball of pie dough. The stone had disappeared.
I was devastated. I finished the deliveries and went and cleaned the bakery better than I ever had when I was anticipating the food inspector. No diamond. I waited, hoping I'd be sued by someone who had bit into an apple pie and broken a tooth. That would have brought a host of other problems, but at least I'd have the diamond my husband gave me at the Vista Point above Glen Canyon Dam one Sunday in April, 1961.
It never showed up.
A year or so after I lost my diamond, my mother-in-law came to live with us, and I was her caregiver. I was able to do that and continue with the carrot cake and cinnamon rolls, but soon her Alzheimer's progressed to the point that I couldn't do both, and so I closed the bakery.
About that time, my daughter Terry and her then-husband Matt were building a house. She wanted to put a licensed commercial kitchen in the house, and she offered to trade the double convection oven and the Hobart mixer for a diamond her husband had purchased years before as an investment. We made the trade, and I again was able to wear my engagement ring. We called it the Hobart diamond.
Luckily, we were friends with goldsmiths Owen and Janet Walker. He replaced the diamond and made sure the prongs were way strong. I've had him check them as the years have passed, not wanting to lose this diamond, but he did such a good job in the beginning that the prongs have stayed strong.
If any of you have read my first Spider Latham Mystery, you've met Owen and Janet, as I wrote them in as silversmiths in The Lodger. They're marvelous artists, and I have several pairs of earrings created by them.
The lapis lazuli earrings on the left were my first pair of Walker Goldsmith earrings. Derrill gave them to me for Christmas probably twenty years ago. My mother brought the lapis from Afghanistan when she returned from there in 1970.
The amethyst earrings on the right are wonderful, because the setting has a hole in the back so that light shines through.
Several times, when I've been wearing one or the other of these two pairs, I've had strangers stop me and tell me how beautiful my earrings are. It's happened multiple times, and though I wear earrings every day of my life, it's only happened with these two pairs.
Janet and Owen Walker have earned well-deserved recognition for their artistry in gold and silver. Click here to to go their web site and see some of the beautiful custom jewelry they've created.
But none of their work has been more appreciated than the work they did on the Hobart Diamond.