A Gronk tale from the bakery counter

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – From the counter at Cheryl-Anns’ Bakery on Tuesday afternoon came a reminder of Rob Gronkowski’s wide-ranging reach.

It’s the type of story, and short interaction, that sparks a smile.

My order was being sliced and packed behind the counter when a sweet older woman with a cane and hearing aid walked through the door. We made eye contact, and she said, “I think I know you.”

I shook her hand and said, “My name is Mike.”

“The Patriots!” she responded. “Now I know.”

I loved it, but not as much as the story she then told me after I asked how long she’s been a Patriots fan.

Instead of hearing what I thought she might say (maybe an original season-ticket holder from 1960), she said her fandom only began about nine years ago.

“I’m a Rob Gronkowski fan,” she told me. “I just love Gronk.”

She clearly isn’t alone, and part of her affinity for the fun-loving Gronkowski might have been tied to her roots in Western New York, where he also hails from.

While I regret I didn’t ask her name, I can decisively recall her order. She had pointed to the chocolate cupcakes with white frosting, and said, “I’ll take one of those.” Then, when the nice person behind the counter reached for one cupcake, she pointed to the entire cupcake sheet and said, “No, I’ll take the whole thing.”

Gronk, no doubt, would have approved.

And now, as New England anxiously awaits word from Gronkowski on his football-playing future, I’ll have this exchange in mind whenever the news becomes official.

Young, old, and in between, the connection he’s made is indelible.

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