I wrote this essay several years ago and the snowy weather today brought it to mind. Enjoy!
It was one of those dreary winter days that just begs to be devoted to cookie baking. I didn’t fight it. The sky was dark, the freezing rain was coming and I had flour. A half an hour later I had about half of my Snickerdoodles baked. The house smelled wonderful. I popped the next batch into the oven and grabbed my cup of coffee. My counter is a peninsula of sorts and just beyond it is a ten foot picture window looking out over our huge backyard. Earlier I’d thrown out some bread crusts for my crows and as I stared out the window, I noticed movement. Peering closer I saw that it was a cat – the most pitifully thin and bedraggled cat I’d ever seen. I watched as the critter inhaled the bread then I went to the back door. I just had to see if she’d come to me.
“Meow,” was the soft reply to my cajoling whisper.
“Come on, sweetie,” I said and it was only a matter of moments before the cat was in the house. Soon she was cuddled up on the couch with my youngest son and we marveled at the poor kitty’s matted hair and lack of body fat. The cat’s ribs were not visible because, as we found out later, this was a Maine Coon Cat. Long hair in shades of gray covered her bones, but just barely. She also had a nick in one ear and I could just imagine what fight caused that.
“What are we going to do, Mom?” my son asked.
“I don’t know,” I said. “Your Dad doesn’t really care for cats and we can’t afford another animal. I guess we’ll just have to put it back outside.”
And silly me, I thought that would be the end of it. But, no, the cat may have been undernourished be she wasn’t stupid. If there was food at this house, she was going to stay. So of course she was there the next day and the next, until finally I was telling anyone who would listen about our stray, the one my son named Bones.
“Really?” said my friend, Karen. She and her husband had just lost a beloved cat, and I zeroed in on her interest.
“Want her?” I asked, then launched into a description of the poor creatures condition.
“We’ll be over to look at her this afternoon.”
And that was that. One look at poor Bones and they were goners. The cat carrier came out, an appointment with the vet was made, and the cat’s name was subsequently changed to Buddy. The vet determined that this was a he-cat, not a she-cat.
So what does this have to do with cookies? Well, let me tell you. I feed things; kids, crowds, crows, squirrels – you name it. One of my daughters-in-law even nicknamed me Grandma Food. But I’m most famous for my cookies. I have a beat up old Tupperware cake taker that, if it’s sitting on the kitchen table, the kids and grandkids know I’ve been busy baking. Our youngest granddaughter, w ho is just two, came in the door the other day, saw the container and said, “cookie?” It made me proud.
The elderly mother of a friend makes sure every year at Christmas that I remember her with cookies. And I’m so flattered, I always do. She loves my choco-caramel delights, the ones I used to give to the delivery people when my husband and I owned a computer shop.
I’m kind of famous for feeding crows, too. There’s an old tree stump a short distance from the big picture window and up a little rise. I call it my crow stump and I’ve even gone so far as to beg leftover pizza crusts from friends and family when I’m out in polite society. Old cereal, apple peels and of course stale cookies (not too many of those) are all candidates for the stump. My crows even call for me in the morning and especially appreciate it when I shovel a path to the stump in the dead of winter.
I feel a little bit like Jack. You know the one from the old nursery rhyme who built the house? This is the crust from the loaf of bread that went to the stump to feed the crows. This is the rain that fell in the autumn that caused me to bake the Snickerdoodles. This is the coffee I stood and drank and looked out the window and saw the cat while I waited for the cookies to bake. And this is the cat that came in the house and found a home because somebody loves to feed people.
Yup, there’s just something about a cookie.