Morning Song

The scent of bread and vanilla beckoned me to roll out of the guest-room bed. For some strange reason I was salivating as I stumbled past the open door. I bumped down the hall, my shoulder knocking the photos lined as straight as soldiers along the family wall of fame. Ahead, molten light enveloped a robed silhouette and guided me forward. The light was pure white, fiery sunspots dancing around the figure, the angel, my mother, made all the more welcoming by the gurgling coffeepot harmonizing with the birdsong from the east window. Fresh-baked rolls and fresh-brewed coffee were the right blend to awaken my slumbering imagination.

As I neared Mom and observed her contemplative devotion to the baking task before her, I imagined a halo holding her long gray ponytail in its bun. With my eyes now fully open, I was transfixed by the sugary butterhorns fresh from the oven, soft crescent puffs, the bread of life in my family. I was at the kitchen altar laden with the elements of family Eucharist.

My timing was lucky. Mom had just pulled the final dozen from the oven and was applying the last of the buttercream frosting, a sacred ritual she had performed thousands of times before. As I watched, I felt like a star-struck groupie who had just met Paul Simon for a private concert. With a heavily loaded spatula in her right hand and the fresh pillow of goodness in her left, she spread out the sweet covering like a crisp bedsheet. It was cool on warm, each one painted thickly and then placed on the tray to cure. The frosting puddled down, like snow and ice shifting in the spring sunlight on a Wisconsin lake. I wished for a moment that I had sunglasses.

So it was done. Without a word spoken, she met my inquisitive eyes with “Yes, you can.” So I did. Just then I realized I was not dreaming. It was going to be a good day.

Photos by Craig Lueck

If you want to have a good day but don’t live near my mom, Joanne Lueck, you can click here for her recipe.


  1. I’m salivating. And I love the sunlight in each photo.

    • Craig Lueck says:

      Laura, I have to say – they do taste so much better when the sunlight rakes across them. Keeps them warm. Warms the heart.

  2. Mary Chandler says:

    Thanks for the beautiful story. I just put the dough in the frig. Can’t wait to taste them on the morning!

    • Lee Lueck says:

      You and your kids are in for a real treat. I wish I could come over with some Starbucks and have one too!

  3. Amy Schomann says:

    Beautiful, Craig! As her neighbor, I can tell you these fresh pillows of goodness have brightened many of our days. We love when the phone rings and the voice on the line says, I baked this morning.

    As always, she is so proud of all of you. As tears of pride and joy rolled down her cheeks, she told me about Morning Song. Amen!

  4. Eric Disney says:

    Lovely word picture, Craig–you write ALMOST as well as you paint…