Monday, March 14, 2016
Girl Scout Cookies
(Dishin’ It Out—Ginger’s title for this blog—keeps me talking about food. You’d think I was on a diet or something, the number of times I’ve blogged about food lately. While it's past time for a diet, I’m too much in the “Garfield” frame of mind. The chubby cartoon cat explained that “'Diet' is just
Riding my clunky step-through “Granny” bike the other day I crossed town, the first cycle ride of the year to the grocery store, 4+ miles away. It’s usually an odds and ends journey for obvious reasons, but it’s an errand I can run without firing up the car. On a bright spring day, it makes sense. I pulled up, locked the bike, collected my stuff and headed in.
'Die' with a T.” For this story, though, the cookies are just the lead in.)
At the door, I was met by a brightly smiling young lady carrying a sign announcing that it was the cookie time of year! And there they were, boxes and boxes of cookies stacked on a table just inside the door, surrounded by cute kids and tired-looking moms tending their display. I promised to purchase some on the way out, but the sight of those girls, badges on display, made me remember my own cookie seller days.
My Scout cookie sales were few because I lived in the country. We had exactly three families nearby, one of whom was just so stone weird we mostly ignored them. This left me the kindly dairy farmers across Route 20 and the pleasant couple who ran the little motel which lay two alfalfa fields beyond our house. Of course, my mom bought a few boxes and some of her bridge friends also purchased a few from me, but we didn’t have any local relatives, and most of the people we knew had girl scouts of their own. Still, I always made the effort, and effort, sometimes, it truly was.
Cookie Time is traditionally March. Here in South Central Pa we had a single humdinger of a snow storm closely followed by 80 degree weather—in short, not at all like my childhood experience of winter. Back then, in the fifties, in Skaneateles, New York, we could literally have feet of the fatal white piled all over us straight through March. Route 20, which my parents jokingly said they could tell time by – the grumble and grind of the snow plow’s passage, every hour on the hour during winter -- was a narrow twilight corridor hedged in by mountains of ice-glazed accretion.
I remember going out to deliver my cookies, lugging the big brown box that held them, and hoping I’d get to where I was going before a truck or yet another snow plow came along. I’d see the headlights approaching and have to struggle up and onto the snow bank to get off the road. Some years those banks were frozen so hard that I'd skin my knee right through the leggings if I fell while trying to get out of the way. Some years, the banks had begun to melt, like a Pleistocene glacier, filling the road with melt water torrents and my boots with grungy snow if I broke through during a climb to safety.
Either way, the plows were fearsome, about as big as machines got in those days, with huge upswept blades, blinding lights, and a driver peering out a small window high overhead. If they caught sight of me in the twilight, a small figure perched on the nearby bank, they usually appeared surprised. Eventually, I’d arrive in one or the other family’s warm kitchen with snow and gravel inside my boots, make the delivery and then trudge back home again, always alert for the clink-clink-clank of tire chains, ready to escape up the bank again.
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