In this case, it also represents a promise of better times.
"I don't know any of these people but to just be around some other human beings, even with masks on?" said Danny Arrras of Kentfield as she waited.
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And so the crowd gathered outside M.H. Bread and Butter in San Anselmo, where owner Devon Yanko allowed social distancing customers to enter one at a time while her husband, Nathan, finished gluten free muffins in the back.
"What time did you begin today?" we asked Nathan.
"2:45." As in a.m.
M.H. Bread and Butter had high energy on Thursday, and with good reason. When the coronavirus hit in full, this bakery laid off 37 employees. Two months later, Wednesday and Thursday, they returned to work.
"Putting people into financial hardship is never easy," Devon Yanko told us. "We were telling people we would bring you back but we didn't know if it was true."
"We were just trying to remain open," added Nathan. "That they had a business to return to was important for us."
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That return happened only after the bakery received a federal payroll protection loan, and that in the second round.
Baker Dan Ferreira came back to work on Wednesday. "It was a long time one we found our routine. At the beginning I didn't think we would be out until May."
But they were. And now they're back. And if you believe in the symbolism of baby steps, take the return of this small business to heart -- a small story that perhaps represents something larger.
"Feels like we might be getting back to some kind of normal at some point," said Danny Arras, still waiting.
Normal. The old one.
Who wouldn't stand in line for that?
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