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Wet Noodle Posse | Blog

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Have Cookies--Will Travel

Christmas Eve dawned much like many others I’d shared with my husband and daughter. We had a breakfast of French toast, I finished what little wrapping I had left, then took a leisurely shower. I’d checked the frosted sugar cookies off my list the day before. All I had to do was arrange the tree, stocking, star and candy cane shaped cookies artfully on a couple of holiday platters for their transport to my husband’s Aunt Bonnie’s house, with whom we spend our Christmas Eves. I covered the glass and painted tin platters with several layers of plastic wrap. Perhaps that was a little overkill for a ten minute journey, but I’ve always been protective of my Christmas cookies. My husband announced it was time to leave. He gathered everything we were bringing from the brightly wrapped presents to my cookie platters and placed them safely and securely in the back of our station wagon (my mom-mobile at the time that my husband claimed was sporty because it had a metal rack on the roof). The picture is me with my daughter who was four years old at the time--about ten years ago.

I don’t recall why I shirked my responsibility to the cookies I’d spent a day baking and another whole day icing and decorating in festive sugars. Maybe I was making sure our daughter was bringing some toys to play with or that she was wearing some form of leg covering for warmth. She went through a phase where she refused to wear socks or tights because the seams bothered her.

As my husband took a right onto the road in our subdivision leading to the entrance, out of the corner of my eye, I saw something red flying close to the car. I commented that I’d never seen a cardinal get that close to a moving vehicle. Before the station wagon made it to the next cross street, a burst of yellow flashed by the window in much the same way the cardinal had only seconds before. I asked my husband what sort of yellow birds nest in Georgia in the winter. The car slowed. Wes’s eyes widened. His lips parted like he was going to answer my question, but no words emerged from his throat.

That’s when a third “bird”—this time a green one moving much more slowly than the previous two—slid past my window. Yes, the birds were in fact my sugar cookies. I voiced what my husband could not-- and perhaps in a more shrill than festive manner—something about whether or not he’d put the cookies on the roof of the car. That’s about the time he slammed on the brakes. A gentle stop might have been a better choice. The platters and what was left of the cookies kept going, proving some law of motion I don’t recall from high school science class.

The glass platter? Shattered into many tiny pieces. My old-fashioned painted tin plate, empty of cookies, rolled down the dip in the road like a penny on its side. The cookies I’d spent so many hours baking and decorating? A few found a soft landing on some neighbor’s brown Bermuda lawn. Most others were in various states of decomposition in a sad little trail that meandered along the asphalt road behind the station wagon.

My daughter sniffled loudly that the only dessert at Aunt Bonnie’s would be cake and pie. Yes, shocking but true, when my daughter was little she didn’t like cake or pie. My husband sent a sheepish expression my way, the one that usually vaporizes my anger. He apologized, too. I said nothing. I got out of the car and walked down the hill, past crumbs of buttery sweetness that the birds would hopefully enjoy and picked up my scratched and dented tin platter from the spot where it stop careening. What little sun was left in the sky dwindled. Neighbors, oblivious to the disaster beyond their doors, turned on their Christmas lights, and I decided I wouldn’t be angry. It was Christmas, a time of joy. I walked back to the station wagon, got in, clicked my seatbelt into position and said something cheesy like “I guess that’s how the cookie crumbles.”

Every Christmas since, Wes, Cynthia and I check to make sure the cookies are in the van rather than on top of it preparing to take a ride to certain crumbdom.

Have any holiday disasters you'd like to share? Oh, and the secret to my wonderful sugar cookies is Pillsbury dough!

Although Maureen Hardegree will spend the majority of this day baking Christmas cookies for the various parties her husband and daughter will attend this week, she’ll sneak in writing time, too. Her southern short stories have been published in BelleBooks’ Sweet Tea collections, and she contributes to the Mossy Creek collective novel series. Click on this link to read A Very Mossy Christmas, a free holiday story she wrote for BelleBooks.

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At 10:27 AM, Blogger Theresa Ragan said...

Maureen, that is the SADDEST and yet the FUNNIEST story I've heard in a long time! Oh, my gosh! I am laughing myself to tears. When you saw a red, then yellow, then green bird fly past your window! Hilarious. And good for you for handing the situation so well! Yeah, I bet you'll never let the hubby pack the cookies in the car again!

I remember a Christmas when all the sisters were married but without kids and we all went to my mother's house and one of my sisters and I were looking at something I had opened while everyone else chattered in the kitchen. Suddenly my sister mentioned that she was getting warm...but we kept looking and examining until pretty soon I felt hot and turned around. The tree and the stockings above the fireplace were all in flames. I think i just screamed while my sister and mom got the hose and managed to get the fire out...but the room was slightly damaged...along with the gift I had been admiring. :(

At 11:07 AM, Blogger Dianna Love said...

Maureen -

You are a true story had me wondering about those birds until that last one. I'm betting almost everyone has left something on a car roof at some point. I know I've chased down someone to tell them something was on their roof or bumper.

I agree with Theresa - a sad and funny story. And poor Theresa with the flames! Glad the worst that happened was damage to things that could be fixed or replaced.

At 12:45 PM, Blogger Diane Gaston said...

Theresa, your story was SCARY!!!

Maureen, how wise you were to evaluate what was really important in that moment. It would have been so easy to ruin the day for everyone by getting justifyably angry at your husband, but you didn't. If that's the way the cookie crumbles in your house, it's a real treat!

You'll hear my story next week: When Snoopy Knocked Down the Christmas Tree.

At 12:53 PM, Blogger Mo H said...

So glad you enjoyed the story! It's so much funnier years later. When I told Wes I was going to tell the story, that sheepish look returned to his face and he said he didn't remember the incident. Of course he then laughed. Hopefully, the cookies for his party tomorrow are not left on Marta (our mass transit in the ATL)!

At 12:56 PM, Blogger Mo H said...

So glad I was able to keep you wondering about those birds! I think I'm now a little too worried about leaving things on the roof of the van--but not to the point of obsessive-compulsive--I think.:)

At 12:56 PM, Blogger Mo H said...

The fire? Super scary! Glad the house and all of you were safe.

At 1:00 PM, Blogger Mo H said...

You know I was angry with Wes at first, but I'm glad I didn't make a bad situation worse by giving in to the anger. We try to laugh at the foibles.

I can't wait to read about Snoopy and the Christmas tree! And tomorrow Karen Potter's sharing "Where's the Cranberry Sauce?"

At 3:27 PM, Blogger Trish Milburn said...

I can just imagine what went through Wes' head when he realized what had happened. :)

I'm drawing a blank on Christmas disasters at the moment -- except the one Christmas where the weather go so bad while we were on the road that we ended up in the ditch, twice! Everyone now knows that if there's a chance of winter weather at Christmas, I'm not going anywhere.

At 5:55 PM, Blogger Mo H said...

I'll take destroyed cookies over ending up in a ditch any day! I'm with you. I hunker down when winter weather hits--which, quite frankly, isn't very often in Georgia.


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