We hope this past year has been a happy and healthy one for you and yours. It has been an exciting one for our family. Not only are Travis and I a year older, we celebrated our 62nd wedding anniversary! I think keeping busy keeps you young. Yes, at 82, we have a few aches and pains, but we try to keep going. (I am afraid if I slow down, I might not be able to speed back up!) We both still enjoy working in our flower and vegetable gardens. We still grow and “put up” most of the vegetables that I serve during our family dinners once a week. Travis is never happier than when he is on his lawn mower or tractor. He still mows all the family yards, a service for which Mona wants everyone to know that she is so very grateful!
It really is difficult to say how many years we have been in business. My mother actually baked these cookies in a woodstove and sold them locally. But if you just count the years since I started making them, it is over 50 years. The past 5 decades saw a few ups and downs, but nothing was as dismal as 2008. However, we persevered, and last year we finally saw a light at the end of the tunnel. We began 2013 working 5 days a week, moved to 6days a week in October and still ran out of cookies in December. This year, we started 6 days a week in March and even hired 2 new employees – the first additions to our staff since 2008! We plan to be better prepared this Holiday season. That’s the thing about a handmade cookie: you can only make a limited number in a day. But we are not complaining. We are just so happy to be providing our employees with full-time work, and we are overjoyed when we have to pay overtime! We are so grateful to all of you, our loyal customers and friends, who have supported our bakery over the years. We could not have survived without you. So...“THANK YOU!” We also want to thank our friends at UNC-TV who filmed a wonderful documentary on our bakery, “Lighter than Air”. It aired (no pun intended) during November 2013 and brought us many compliments. If you would like to see it, just go to our website www.hanescookies.com and click on “PRESS” to the left of the homepage. We think it is a thoroughly entertaining, educational segment. You get to see all the family, my home kitchen and the bakery.
Our Newest "Cookie Tasters"
Oh my, how daughter Caroline’s twins (now 2½ years old) keep us hopping and entertained! They live next door and come by the bakery several times a week to “taste test.” With their frequent visits, they have managed to wrap all the employees around their cute little fingers. Big sister Evva Kate started kindergarten this year. She has the same teacher (Hey Mrs. Decker!) that her cousins Jed (now 28) and Madison (24) had for kindergarten! Daughter Mona, (Jed & Madison’s mom) says, “at least Mrs. Decker knows what to expect.”
Madison and Jedidiah (Mona’s children), will graduate from their respective colleges in spring 2015. Madison is still thriving in Chicago and DePaul, although she did get a little tired of the cold this past winter. Jed will finish in the Creative Writing Department at UNC-Asheville. (Maybe he can take over writing this newsletter!) Scott and Mona just hope their graduations are not on the same day! Isabella and Fiona are both doing great in school. Isabella sometimes helps her Aunt Caroline at the bakery on Saturdays and seems to be exhibiting some talent as a cookie maker (all genetic, I’m sure). Fiona is an exceptional dancer.
Supper's at Six
I continue to cook for my family most every weekend because I love to cook for a crowd and feel blessed when surrounded by family and friends. Carrying on our weekly supper tradition is very important to my family, too. Madison always makes sure I will be cooking before she books a flight home from Chicago. Recently, our church hosted a fundraiser for our local Moravian Prison Ministry. I “donated” dinners at my table for $30 each, with all the proceeds going to that ministry. Not only did we raise over $2,500, we met some really wonderful people, making me feel even more blessed to be able to help others with an activity that brings me such great pleasure.
'Til next year
I wish you all a wonderful 2014-2015. I am sure it will pass by too quickly…well, except for Mona. She has been on a very strict diet (wants to look good at those graduations) and she said she has never seen time move more slowly. So I guess if time is passing you by too swiftly, go on a diet. But remember, always make room for cookies!
All the best,