The loaves are already “stacked to the back” of our Ford delivery truck in the morning before we leave. The bread was baked the day before by a handful of Benedictines and sliced and bagged by volunteers, mostly retired men, that same afternoon. All the bread, about 900 loaves, is placed in trays for easy delivery. We have about twelve different stops to make in the city and we want to finish the route before the southern sun becomes unbearable.
We leave the Abbey early to beat the commuters; I notice it takes a few swipes of the windshield wiper to get rid of the moisture and insects that have collected through the night. Even with a full cup of coffee in my system I usually fall asleep on the passenger side as Joe crosses the long causeway over Lake Pontchartrain into New Orleans, listening to AM radio. In the brief moments that I am awake, Joe, in his own words, give a commentary on world and local events and I look out into the lake to see what it looks like this time: either calm and muddy or sometimes the lake is brilliantly blue, like an ocean, but this morning it is dull with an irksome pallor of gray.