My wife and I recently traveled to Waco, Texas, to attend a dear friend's funeral. Our drive home to Baton Rouge took us through College Station, the home of Texas A & M University.
We had left Waco early in the morning without eating breakfast, and we were hungry. I pulled into a gas station near Texas A &M, which happened to house a kolache bakery.
If you've never eaten a kolache, you should search out a bakery that makes them. Kolaches are a yeast-roll pastry topped with fruit or stuffed with sausage. They originated in Czechoslavakia and came to Texas with the Czech immigrants who settled in central Texas in the nineteenth century. Texans are crazy about the Kolache, which is sometimes called a Texas donut.
I walked into the kolache bakery and ordered two cups of coffee and three kolaches stuffed with sausage, cheese, and jalapenos. I was served by an attractive young woman who welcomed me with a smile and a friendly greeting.
The kolaches were delicious. They were each topped with a thin slice of jalapeno that had been baked into the yeast roll. That little jalapeno slice was something extra--both a garnish and a message that these particular kolaches were stuffed with hot peppers.
While we were eating, the young woman began conversing in Spanish with another employee who was diligently mopping the bakery floor. I imagine they were brother and sister. How quintessentially Texan: a family-owned Hispanic bakery that specializes in Bohemian pastries.
I noticed then that the woman who served me was wearing a t-shirt bearing the name of Texas A & M's Mays Business School. Undoubtedly, she was a business major at the university or an MBA student.
That woman will make a success of her life. How do I know?
First, she has basic work skills. Although selling pastries is a menial job, she did it cheerfully and professionally. She has the workplace skills that will serve her well, whether she spends her whole life selling kolaches or working for Goldman & Sachs.
Second, she is bilingual. Texas is now a bilingual state--not at the level of Canadian Quebec, but the Lone Star State is rapidly heading in that direction. This woman's language skills will serve her well throughout her life.
Third, she chose to major in business--a major that will probably lead to a good job. Not for her those vacuous programs in the social sciences, liberal arts, or ethnic studies.
Finally, this young woman is working while in college and probably has minimal student loans or perhaps no student debt at all.
I wish more college students were like the woman who sold me three kolaches. We would be a stronger nation if young people graduated from college with this woman's work skills, language proficiency, and an academic major that will prepare them for a good job.
PS: Purists call a sausage-filled Czech pastry a klobasniky, but most Texans refer to both fruit-filled and sausage-filled pastries as kolaches.
|Is this a klobasniky or a kolache?|