Tuesday, January 17, 2017
YOUNG MEN AND COOKIES
A Church of the Open Road
My father was an honorable, honest and straightforward man – except when it came to cookies. Mom was a prodigious cookie baker often producing double and quadruple batches of Toll Houses or Gingersnaps in an effort to ensure our classic, fired-clay cookie jar was always full. She was famous in the neighborhood.
As a letter carrier, Dad would leave for work before sunrise and pedal home at around 3:00. Having been on his feet all day, he’d collapse in his chair for a thirty-minute siesta then rise to go prospecting for a snack. Ever bountiful, the cookie jar was a virtual Mother Lode – one that would never disappoint. There was a drawback, however. It seems the clinking of the fired-clay lid back down on the fired-clay jar resonated like a pick’s head on bedrock, often alerting Mom that someone was fixing to ruin his appetite within an hour or so of dinner. Raging invectives would follow from the sewing room or the laundry. Nabbed in the act, Dad would sheepishly slip the Snickerdoodle back into the jar and sneak away to partake in a pipeful of Half-n-Half out on the back patio or in the den. There, he’d sit quietly puffing and contemplating.
Apparently, he eventually contemplated this: On the counter near the cookie jar was a stand-up holder for paper napkins. If, armed with a four-fold napkin, he could carefully lift the jar lid, snatch a nugget or two from within, lay the napkin atop the jar and gently replace the lid, then he could slide the napkin out and the lid would settle silently into place.
At some point, spying him lumber into the kitchen after his nap, I peeked around the doorway and caught Dad returning a napkin to the holder. It didn’t take me long to realize what was going on and that I could use this information to – what’s the word I’m looking for? – blackmail him. Thus, every day for months and months – maybe a year or more – Dad and I enjoyed a smuggled cookie about an hour before dinner.
One day, however, Dad screwed up. As we tittered and snacked and he congratulated himself over his shrewd and refined ability to continually outsmart Mom, he must have forgotten to slip the napkin out from between the lid and the jar. Mom obviously discovered this, but said nothing. Instead, the by the very next day, mysteriously, napkin holder disappeared from the counter.
And for the remainder of his time on this planet, Dad never figured out where that napkin holder went.
© 2017Church of the Open Road Press