Not much goes on in the town of Tully, Ontario; population: 33,870. The men go off to their factory jobs each day, the women go off to their office jobs, and the kids all go off to school where, in-between actually paying attention to their lessons, they fantasize about moving to the big city.
The retirees have their routine as well. Every morning, they all gather at The Donut Hole. The old folks of Tully can’t remember a time when The Donut Hole didn’t exist. It’s where everyone goes to get a good cup of coffee, donuts and other baked goods made fresh everyday, and the biggest sandwiches your eyes will ever see. They can’t count on the good Lord to give them another day, but they like to think they can count on The Donut Hole to be there, and for Leslie Crosby to be there as well to serve them.
Leslie has been working at The Donut Hole for the past fifteen years and she likes seeing the regulars come in everyday. There’s Bob and Doris who stroll in each morning around seven a.m. She knows that Bob likes his coffee black, while Doris prefers hers with double cream and double sugar. They never order any food, unless it’s one of their birthdays, and then it’s always something simple like a honey glazed donut. Then there’s Carlos and Rosita. For years they sat at the same table day in and day out, never saying a word to each other. Leslie figured that they must have run out of things to talk about after thirty years of marriage. Then one day a widower showed up, Glenn’s his name, and after seeing him sit all by himself time after time, Carlos and Rosita started hanging out at his table. Glenn hasn’t heard all of their stories yet and they haven’t heard his, so the three of them now have plenty to talk about.
For every table and every hour of her shift, there’s someone else Leslie can tell you about. She hasn’t a clue what street any of them live on, but after all of these years they feel like family to her. More of a family then her real one ever did. The last time she saw her parents was when she was put into foster care at eleven years of age. She hasn’t seen her brother either since he took off for Australia at the age of eighteen. These are her people now.
She doesn’t know what she’d do without The Donut Hole. That’s why she worries about one of those chains coming in and putting the place out of business. It’s bound to happen one day, but until then she’ll go on serving honey glazed donuts and coffee just the way her seniors like it. She’ll go on cherishing the safety of her routine.