Another snow day here in Rocky Mount. Tomorrow 60 degrees, currently –snow falling!
I was eating lunch, and telling Raquel the story of Poppie’s Oatmeal Cookies. I jumped up and demonstrated the expertise required to obtain a cookie from Mom and Poppie’s cookie jar. Lifting the lid on the cookie jar was mere “child’s play” but putting it back on without making a sound was a technique all in itself!
I grabbed a bucket of Quaker Oats and turned it round and round, and said “No! There is ALWAYS an Oatmeal Cookie Recipe on a Quaker Oats tub!” And then I took the lid off, and thar she blows! Right under the lid, the recipe…it brought back these memories:
Poppie’s Oatmeal Cookies
When we were young we lived next door to Mom and Poppie in San Diego. Mom was a great cook, but Poppie made oatmeal cookies! You could smell Poppie’s homemade oatmeal cookies baking up and down Louisiana street! Cars would be passing by and roll down their windows for a whiff. That subtle hint of cinnamon, a dash of vanilla, the cup of brown sugar melding itself to the oats…heavenly.
With great anticipation we would wait
Salivating like a hungry pack of wolves at a fresh kill, waiting for Poppie to open the door, step out on the little green indoor-outdoor-carpeted stoop and wander next door to our house.
He was always greeted with a generous welcome when he had a plate of his famous oatmeal cookies, warm from the oven. But there was never enough, we had five in our family, and we would hope and pray that one or two would be absent when Poppie arrived with a delightfully delicious plate of his oatmeal cookies.
Tempting our taste buds
We knew there were more! If Mom was away, Poppie had made them for himself, a thought that always beckoned the back of our minds. Kids always know these things, it is in our nature. There are no boundaries, no walls high enough, no locked doors, nothing to keep us out when Poppie’s oatmeal cookies were still fresh!
Stacie and I were clandestine
We had the timing dictated, we knew we only had to wait, which was not easy, given the predicament. We silently caught eyes across the room, sharing thought and desire without words. We mentally surveyed the situation and knew if we got to Poppie’s oatmeal cookies before nightfall, we were in like flint! Each day that passed, with Poppie’s oatmeal cookies sitting sad and alone, all forlorn in the cold cookie jar giving way to staleness, was a defeat!
We knew the hour would surely come…NAP TIME
When Mom curled her hands up together under her cheek, laying gently on her bed, and drifting off for a cozy cat nap.
With Poppie stretched out on the sofa, all 6 feet something of him…sawing logs. Yes, the time would surely come.
We had strategized the quieting of the click of the door knob, we had it down pat, we knew which side of the carpet to walk on in the front room to avoid all squeaks and bouncing noises from the floor.
The time was right
In we crept with a visual on Poppie sleeping, a hand sign to the one in the rear “Move forward.” We passed the drawer with the big puffy hard orange circus-peanuts-candy and the bag full of miniature snickers bars. In other times we would have been happy to go for the snickers, but not now. Not with Poppie’s homemade oatmeal cookies in the house! Over the kitchen floor we crept…onward to the counter where the IDOL OF OATMEAL COOKIES sat mocking us.
We would pause to recon
At the counter now, holding our breath as to not make a sound, no exhaling allowed, we could carefully remove the lid and reach into the deep recesses of the cookie jar. We never took our eyes off of the sleeping Poppie, who would stir for a moment, then pause, and drift back off into slumber. Ascertaining that we had a short window of opportunity before the phone rang or some other disturbance awoke the sleeping giant we moved onward.
We were kids we were impulsive
We could not help but take a bite of the first delectable cookie held there in our grubby palms. Poppie’s homemade oatmeal cookies were always small and stout, bite-sized, so there was no problem downing a whole cookie in one go! Just a crispy little bite, a reward for our labors before heading out with our booty.
Off we went, back the way we came
Stealthily slinking out the front door like two alley cats on a prowl. Past the tangerine tree, a quick jump over the wall and back to our house. If we were lucky, which we often weren’t, Stefanie wouldn’t be standing there with a “What are you guys doing?” There was ne’er a fear of being ratted out with Stef, but we knew we would surely lose our bounty! the end.
This is the actual cookie jar
It resides in Ireland now with my sister who has four children of her own. Yes, the same one and only who was reaching her arm up to her elbows into the cookie jar alongside me to get a handful of Poppie's delicious homemade oatmeal cookies. The ones we ate "in-spite" of the raisins!
I am sending this to my Grandmother "Mom" who turned 90 in September. I know it will flood back some great memories!
Last night, we were discussing cooking for those you love and sharing meals together, it is a lost art. People don't cook anymore, I ask you to do this for those of us cookie-grubbing kids: Bake something!
PS: I was only going to email this story as I enjoyed writing it and making oatmeal cookies today. Then I thought it may touch your heart, touch you with a little bit of home!