A Lesson from a Sprinkles Donut

I am standing in line at one of the many Dunkin’ Donuts at Logan Airport on a Wednesday morning. It is six o’ something or other, and I am grabbing a coffee before I head to Chicago to visit some friends.

As I stare in bleary absence past the man standing before me in line, my vision and brain suddenly register two things: a pink sprinkles donut and a memory.


It isn’t a story memory. It is a childhood snapshot memory, a remembrance of place and emotion: I am standing in a coffee shop that my parents always take us to after church. I am no more than four years old. Copper pots hang gleaming on the walls, and the smell of ground coffee is heavy in the air. Before me is a bakery case, and in that case lies the object of my desires.

It is a donut.

It is frosted with pink icing.

It is covered with rainbow sprinkles.

Truly, there could not be anything else in the world that I had ever wanted or would ever want again more than that pink rainbow sprinkles donut. The icing had softly hardened into a satiny sheen, and the tiny flecks of color dotting it clung with mouth-watering tenacity.

My father orders, the five of us crowd around a tiny table, and my mother slides a napkin towards me. Upon it lies a pink frosted donut with rainbow sprinkles.


I laugh to myself as I come back to the present. Oh, why? Why?

Why do we “grow up” and stop yearning for—and truly appreciating—those very remarkable little things?

I can’t stop asking myself that question all day. Nor the next day. Nor the next. I am haunted by the sprinkles donut.

So when the TSA man presses the handicap button and holds the double doors open for me on my return home, I thank him with an overly dramatic gesture — and he suddenly breaks into a rollicking laugh as if I’ve made his night.

When the waiter brings not just my bottle of beer but a frosty cold pilsner glass to drink it in, I comment on his forethought, and his dimples crack with a huge grin.

When my husband reaches to grab me as I walk past with a basketful of laundry, I thrust my hips in his direction and revel in the swelling of my heart at his obsession.

Life is full of pink-frosted, rainbow-sprinkled donuts. Keep your eyes open, be grateful, and joy will be sure to follow.