Reaching Back

During a visit with my mother, who was in the hospital, I popped into the cafeteria for breakfast. I set a piece of bread on the moving toaster rack and waited for it to return golden brown. Instead, it got stuck all the way in the back. When I couldn’t reach it, the woman in line next to me took control of the situation. Seizing a pair of tongs, she reached in and deftly fished out the piece of toast. "You must be an emergency-room worker," I joked.

"No," she said, "an obstetrician."