NISSWA - Terri Carter doesn't take it personally when people tell her she smells.
Smelling like doughnuts, cake and bread isn't all bad. It comes with the territory at her job at Rachel's Bakery in Nisswa.
The bakery is owned by her son and daughter-in-law, Tony and Rachel Carter. After Terri retired from her job where she assisted uninsured patients at St. Joseph's Medical Center, she went to work at the bakery to satisfy her "hyper" tendencies.
"Now I'm a doughnut coordinator serving hungry customers," she said.
Terri Carter displayed fruit-filled turnovers at Rachel's Bakery in Nisswa. Carter works for her son and daughter-in-law, who own the business. "I can honestly say I've changed my boss' diapers," she said. Brainerd Dispatch/Heidi Lake» Purchase reprints of this photo.
Terri enjoys working for her son and their lighthearted banter is proof of their strong relationship.
"He probably isn't going to fire me because that would make Christmas really awkward," Terri joked.
Terri is currently the only employee at the bakery, but another worker will start soon to help with the busy summer season.
"I'm the only employee, but I've been employee of the month several months in a row," said Terri with a smile.
She wears a sparkly broach that says "Queen Mother" and there's a tip jar on the front counter with a sign (made by Tony) that says, "Gratuity to put Mom in the home."
Family: Two children, three stepchildren. Married to Roy Carter for 35 years.
Where from: St. Paul.
What's for lunch: Bran cereal and vitamins. Old people food.
Favorite NASCAR experience: Watching a race at Talladega Superspeedway three years ago.
Favorite American Idol contestant: Clay Aiken. I'm a Clay-mate.
Favorite baked good: Turnovers. It's like eating fresh pie.
Hobbies: Walking, cleaning up after and taking her senior citizen dogs to the vet.
Terri serves as the front manager of the bakery where she attends to and visits with customers and runs the c\ash register.
Terri has been known to hug and even dance with customers.
"Our regular, loyal customers are like family," she said. "I love making people happy. It's so much fun."
Sometimes Terri considers her job at the bakery as an extension of her social work background.
"I encourage people who are down and try to make their day a little brighter," she said.
At 62, Terri admits her job is physically demanding, but it's nothing she can't handle.
"It's a really physical job. I'm running constantly," she said, and compares getting baked goods out of the glass case to deep knee bends.
When she's not working at the bakery, Terri spends time with her husband of 35 years, Roy, and three "dysfunctional" dogs, Annie, Teddy and Henry. Terri said Annie, 15, and Henry, 11, have some behavioral issues but she loves them anyway.
"I like shelter dogs," she said. "Homeless animals are my passion, my cause. They love you unconditionally and unlike children, they never ask for money."
Terri also loves NASCAR - she carries her lunch to work in a metal Jimmie Johnson lunch box - and American Idol. While American Idol is on tour, Terri and a group of her friends go to the concert in Minneapolis every year.
HEIDI LAKE may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 855-5879.
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