Cookies galore, but so much more
Usually, eating a peanut butter cookie would not be cause for celebration, nor would it induce a feeling so special that words seem inadequate to explain or express it. Right now, it does.
Recently, I wrote a nostalgic account of my memory of the first Christmas I spent away from home. That year, 1957, I had married, graduated from high school (yes, in that order), and gone on active duty in the Navy. When Christmas rolled around, I was onboard a ship, the USS Roanoke CL 145, in the South China Sea. Christmas Day was hot and lonely, despite being onboard a vessel with a crew of about 1,000.
My two best-buddy shipmates, Don Methvin from Abilene, TX, and John Nizzi from Albuquerque, NM, and I spent a portion of the day sitting topside on the deck, sharing the homesickness that 18-year-olds can feel. Methvin played his guitar part of the time, and we ate homemade cookies—most, as I recall, being peanut butter cookies. We had the cookies because my wife, my mother, and my mother-in-law all made cookies and mailed them to me. Thus, I regularly had a supply of homemade cookies, mostly peanut butter and chocolate chip, my favorites. It may be a stretch to say that we were eating cookies. Often they were mostly crumbs. Cookies had a hard time surviving mail delivery from Oklahoma to a ship somewhere in the Pacific Ocean. Normally, they arrived as much crumbs as cookies. That, however, did not take away from the taste. You might be surprised how tasty a handful of cookie crumbs are on a lonely, Christmas Day, thousands of miles from home with nothing in sight but water.
That memory was posted on my blog Christmas Eve, but the memory is fresh on my mind again, along with a new one that is truly special to me.
Carol, the sweet lady I married back in 1957, and I have three wonderful children, two daughters and a son. Through peanut butter cookies, they have reminded me once again how special they are and how much I feel blessed by God that they are our children.
They read the Christmas memory blog and decided on a unique way to make my birthday memorable this year. As of last Sunday, I am three years past the Biblical allotment of three score and ten years. So, there have been a significant number of birthdays along the way. I assumed this would be just another one. Not so. It’s now among the leaders for most memorable.
That Christmas of 1957 occurred during a time in which letters and homemade cookies were a significant aspect of mail call for me. So, the kids decided to make my birthday mail call memorable. Each one wrote me a personal, handwritten letter, baked me a batch of peanut butter cookies, and mailed them to me for my birthday. Wow!
The letter and box of cookies from my younger daughter in Ohio arrived Saturday. My custom is to wait until my birthday to open cards or presents from my children. However, the envelope clearly did not contain a card, and I was perplexed as to why she would be writing a letter instead of the usual e-mail or phone call. Frankly, I was a bit concerned. So, I opened it and discovered a wonderful, personal letter. I wasn’t sure why she had chosen to write, but I really appreciated it and sent an e-mail expressing my thanks.
That night, I told Carol I had decided to go ahead and open my cards because we were going to be busy Sunday morning and were going to a friend’s house for lunch. Along with opening the cards, I opened the box from my daughter and discovered the cookies, mostly intact rather than being primarily crumbs.
That was merely the beginning. Monday I received a package from my son in Wyoming and, upon opening it, discovered another personal letter and a tin container filled with peanut butter cookies, again almost in pristine condition sans crumbs. I’m slow about some things, so I still hadn’t caught on. I marveled at the thought that two of my children would think of the same thing and carry it out. Each had read the blog and made independent decisions to refurbish my memory by sending the cookies. Amazing.
Our custom is that the each of the kids will call on my birthday and wish me a happy birthday. However, I missed my son’s call because we weren’t home. So, we ended up making phone contact Tuesday and he asked if I had received any other packages of cookies letters. I said yes and he explained there was yet more to come.
Sure enough, today a package containing cookies and a letter arrived from my daughter in Kansas. Believe it or not, the cookies arrived with virtually no crumbs.
I lack the words to express how blessed I feel and how special this has made my birthday. Each time Carol and I take a cookie from one of the three batches, we look at each other and smile or laugh. Our kids were a blessing as youngsters, as teenagers, and continue to be a blessing as adults.
Thanks, Cindy, Harvey and Donna.
Rather than prattle on, I think I’ll have some peanut butter cookies. Fresh, whole ones this time, not crumbs.