Posted in Uncategorized on Saturday, December 24, 2011|
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Most of the baking is done and what is left to bake won’t take long. A good time for reflection.
The molasses cookies are now frosted and stored in a big, Tupperware cake tote. The tote has never been used to tote cake, mind you. Instead, is employed once a year for molasses cookies. The large lid serves as a bowl with the tray as a lid. It works famously this way and holds dozens and dozens of cookies. The very best part of it all is when the tote is opened; oh the scents that come forth are pure bliss.
I make the dough and refrigerate it, where it sits and mellows, sometimes for several days. Then, the dough is rolled and shapes cut and baked. The baked cookies sit until the next day to be frosted. There are so many to frost the job would never be done if Tom didn’t sit and help me. He remembers that Ethel used to bake the cookies and then Richard, her brother, would frost them the next day. I like to imagine them in the old farmhouse on the Ohio homestead, snug and warm within, baking and frosting the cookies.
I had trouble with the dough this year. The cookies are among the best tasting I’ve ever made, but the dough was hard to work with. It became too frustrating and I was losing ground, so, I made what I could and froze the rest of the dough for another time with plenty of Ethel cookies for the holiday.
Sometimes life is like cookie dough, isn’t it? You have to know when to keep rolling the dough, and when to call it a day.
As I was dusting the dust of memories made and to be made, this picture looked down at me. It is small. 2″ by 4″. Though diminutive, it is large in what matters and brings to mind Normal Rockwell’s paintings. It is Tom’s maternal grandfather taken at the local school in a small community in Ohio. He was the custodian. Grandpa is standing next to a tree. A Christmas tree. It looks like a fir and is atop a push cart that Grandpa is leaning on. Gone are the days when a live tree adorns a schoolhouse, of course, but the picture is sweet and of a bygone era. Tom’s grandfather has a big, pleasant smile on his face, in spite of the work it must have been getting the tree into the school. He is smoking a pipe, taking a break from his work.
On Friday, amid the hustle and bustle, the uncooperative cookie dough and diminishing pile of Christmas cards, I met a friend for a short chat over coffee. Then I had a date with a tall, handsome, and very bright young man, our grandnephew. Scott and I share the same birthday. It was with great pleasure that he and I took in an afternoon movie. The Adventures of Tintin. What fun it was to watch with an eager young boy, who laughed with glee and slurped his soda and was “wowed” by the action. Life doesn’t get much better than this; sharing in joy with a child.
It is Scott’s great, great grandfather pictured above.
The day was, indeed, a good time for reflection for me. It doesn’t really matter if the cookie dough is stubborn. What matters is taking time with family and friends, having pride in a job well done, and knowing when to rest – and spending time with a child.
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