Portland had been frozen over by one of our annual ice storms but I bravely stepped into my car. Slowly and carefully, I made my way across town. A virtual ice pond. The streets were all but deserted. An odd stillness to the city surrounded me. My trek across town seemed suspicious. As though I shouldn’t be out on the streets and shouldn’t I know that. But, I had to get there. I had to get my plate of Christmas cookies.
One year, the hill to my home rendered me unable to make the journey but two days later, my plate full of cookies was hand delivered.
Last year, after a foot (or two) of snow was dumped on the city leaving everyone stranded at home, my box of cookies arrived via the only group known to deliver through “sleet and snow”…that, of course, being the US Postal Service.
Every year without fail, one of my oldest and dearest friend…oldest as in, she’s known me over half my life. As in, there are no pretensions because there is nothing to hide. As in, when I am in her presence I am nothing but me…spends 48 straight hours in the kitchen with her mother, baking batch after batch of Christmas cookies and candy. Ten, fifteen, twenty different kinds. “What do they do with all of those scrumptious little bites?” you may ask. Why, after the baking marathon is over, they invite over their friends and family to bring a plate and fill it up with their little “labors of love”…as my mother would say.
This year, we, my daughter and I, splashed our way across town. We shared a cup of coffee, a cup of cider. We taste-tested the delectable goods. We admired the Christmas tree. We chatted with my dear friend, her mother and her darling, Christmas-sweater clad Granny who was still making it to the cookie party even after a century in this life. We filled our plate to the brim and an extra one with just my favorite…the almond roca. Hugs good-bye and “Merry Christmas” wished to all. We dashed out the door to the car managing to keep our treats safe from the rain.
My daughter clutched the precious plate of cookies as we drove off for home. And then, she says to me, with a hint of amazement and genuine gratitude in her voice, “Mom, that was so…so…generous of her.” I turned to her and replied, “That was generous, wasn’t it?” And, we continued to ponder on that act of generosity, as we sped toward home where the boys were certain to be waiting for this year’s plate of cookies.
Hoping a plate full of generosity arrives at your home this holiday season and follows you throughout the New Year. “See” you in 2010, my friends!
All original text and photographs copyright: Carrie Minns 2009