“C” Is For Cookie

” ‘C’ is for cookie, and that’s good enough for me.”  A great song from the annals of the old school “Sesame Street”.   I can’t think of a better mascot for cookies than Cookie Monster.  Every furry blue inch of him loves cookies.  So much so, he sang a song about it.  

Cookie, cookie, cookie starts with “c”

Dutch folks know that a cookie in Dutch is known as a “keokje”.  And by its definition is “a small or little cake”.  One of several favorites growing up was the Windmill cookie.  My grandma Westra always had them on hand.  She and the other widowed ladies always, ALWAYS gathered for tea at three o’clock Monday through Saturday. 

Each of the ladies took a turn hosting throughout the week.  If I happened to be staying with her that day, I could go along.  But, I was to sit and have my tea and cookie quietly, which was terribly hard for someone who is 5 to do. Ha! Who am I kidding, I can hardly stand to have my tea or coffee and cookie quietly now! 

I was never a big fan of tea so I usually got a glass of milk or juice.  Once finished I generally asked to go outside and play as they had their talking to do as well as a game of Racko.

Generally, the topic of conversation centered around each ladies’ families.  They were all widowed and formed a “network” of sorts.  I had no idea then, but these ladies gathered together and supported one another.  Shared their burdens, cried, and laughed.  My Grandma Westra always kept these neighborly appointments as they served a need to connect. 

Don’t look now, but your car…

As they walked out widowhood together, I encountered funny stories.  Stories about their life experiences living on their own.  Grandma’s neighbor Mrs. Cupery forgot to put the car brake on her car one day.  It took off backward down her driveway and promptly parked up a tree across the road from her home. 

I got to witness that event.  It was a sight to see. An empty car merrily backing its way down the hilly driveway.  Hitting the road with a bit of loud scraping and a small jump before gliding across the roadway, heading straight for Mrs. Caroline Heeringa’s red maple. BAM!  The car came to a sudden stop parked partially up the bottom half of the tree. It was if the tree said “Nice enough!  The fun ends here!” 

When Mrs. Cupery saw her car take off on its own down the driveway, she had been pleasantly sitting in her “parlor”.  I’m sure she just about lost her dentures and blew a pantyhose garter getting up out of her chair.

Run girl, run

Mrs. Cupery came out of the house via her front porch,  waving a hanky as if that was going to stop or distract the car.  Everyone could plainly see the trajectory of that car. Mrs. Heeringa’s red maple tree was about to get some unwanted company. Crash!

That crash got the attention of everyone on the block. Before long everyone who was at the tea had now assembled and was consoling Mrs. Cupery, who was terribly distraught. That was an old car. I can’t tell you the make or model. But if Dillinger and gang needed a car they’d be happy to have confiscated that one. Black. Shinny. Beautiful.

Officer, it’s the strangest thing

Soon the local sheriff pulled in and got Mrs. Cupery calmed down. He reassured her that the car could be pulled down off the tree, but the car did sustain some damage. The damage was upsetting to Mrs. Cupery. It’s the only car she had. In fact, all those widows had some really nice vintage cars! But at the time, they were considered old and reliable for their use.

The ladies’ tea group walked Mrs. Cupery back into her home and settled her into her chair and began an emergency cup of tea. Mrs. Cupery’s son arrived and with the help of some local folks, pulled the car off the tree and back up the driveway.

Like a whipped pup, there sat the renegade car in the old garage. The sliding wood door left open as if to invite evening strollers to gawk at and whisper. It was terribly embarrassing for Mrs. Cupery.

Passing judgement

I think as we age we worry about “accidents” and how they reflect on what others see as our mental faculties and physical capabilities. I can understand her nervousness now, as well as the concern the ladies’ tea group had for her.

Mrs. Cupery and her determination to live on her own, just like the rest of the tea ladies, gives me strength for things I too may face someday. Having a group of trusted friends to share your life journey makes it all bearable. Having a place to be, situations to discuss, and excitement to share make for good mental exercises.

Every time I eat a windmill cookie, I think about Grandma Westra, those tea ladies, and all the life they shared in little old Friesland. Till next time friends. Here is to good food, good friends, and a great, full and free life.

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