Posts Tagged ‘cookies’

The Aroma Of New Life

April 20, 2011

by Thomas M. Pender

Just a few weeks before my first baby was born, my mom surprised and intrigued me with a rather odd tip.  She said, “When you’re with the baby for the first time, smell it.”  I asked why, probably joking that all newborns probably smell like baby powder and pee.   She told me that, in fact, every newborn has its own unique smell.

With Garrett, I don’t remember exactly when I got the chance to do this, but I did remember to try it.  No baby powder or natural functions could be detected on my infant son.  Garrett smelled like . . . sugar cookies!  In fact, for the first few days of his life on Earth, I called him “Sugarboy,” but this quickly evolved into “Honeyboy,” which stuck for the first six or nine months.

Four years later, when I actually got to be alone with newborn John Christian for a couple of hours, one of the things I did – along with tell him about his family, sing to him and thank God for his safe delivery – was to breathe in deep near the soft skin at the top of his head.  Whereas Garrett smelled of something specific, with Johnny it was an overall smell of spices, like I was in a baker’s closet.

Again, I was surprised.  Not because I didn’t believe my mother, but simply because I had never heard of such an individual element in babies.  Maybe it’s just because I’m a guy, and we don’t hear or retain such information.  Most men might not even care, but I think my generation – and now the one after me, which is old enough to be creating another – is peopled by men who allow themselves to show love.   Who kiss their kids in public, who say “I love you” into the phone, and who are not embarrassed to carry stuffed animals or be invited to their daughters’ tea parties.  This is a wonderful thing.

To those who may not have heard of this mystical bonding trick, give it a try.  If you don’t have a newborn of your own, or one on the way soon, remember to smell the forehead of your sister’s baby, or another in your family.  It really is a wonder of Nature!

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Cookie Madness In Mr. Mullin’s Geometry Class

March 10, 2011

by Thomas M. Pender

‘Tis the season . . . to be buying up Girl Scout cookies!

I’ve been a big fan of Thin Mints, Peanut Butter Patties and Shortbread cookies since I was a small child.  Every year, it was a fun time when the family unfolded the order form and totaled up how many boxes we were planning to empty that year.

Still, I think the most fun I had in terms of “Girl Scout cookie season” was the winter of 1981, in Mr. Robert Mullin’s geometry class.

I was always a numbers kid, and I loved math.  It showed, too!  The only times I didn’t excel were the times I was probably going too fast on a test, so I could be done first.  (Oy, the embarrassing things to which I find myself confessing!)  However, geometry was not so much a numbers game.  It involved rulers, protractors, givens and proofs.  It was a thinking class, to be sure, but not exactly my cup of tea compared to, say, algebra.  Still, the year I moaned through geometry was entertaining to an extent, due to Mr. Mullin himself.  He could take teasing from his students as well as he dished it out to them in his class.  My sisters and I were raised on silly comments (and retorting when jabbed), so the sillier teachers found us worthy adversaries . . . and loved it!

Mr. Mullin’s annual hording of Girl Scout cookies was legendary throughout the school.  Whether he was a giving, caring supporter of community kids or a sugarholic, every year put him together with a mountain of goodies.  One day, when Mr. Mullin was a tad late getting into our class, we intrepid youths decided to search the joint for proof of such snack attack treasures.  It didn’t take us long to find the tall stack of colored boxes in his supply closet.  Working as one sneaky unit, we hid every box somewhere in the room, hoping he would have cause to go to the closet and discover our successful pilfering.  Being a taller student, it was my distinction to tuck tubes of chocolate and peanut butter up onto the hanging lights, behind the rolled-up world map above the chalkboard, and atop the supply closet itself.  These places may not have been such smart choices, had it not been for Mr. Mullin’s personal stature.  To illustrate, when he stopped me in the hall to tell me something one day, I bent at the waist to listen.  That was the first time an adult ever called me a “smartass.”

Halfway through that day’s class, our victim had gone nowhere near any of our hiding spots, nor had he discovered the missing mountain of meltables!  Losing patience, I suggested to one girl in class that she go up to his desk to get a Kleenex, as I had forced one rack of cookies into the innocent box.  When she pulled at the exposed tissue, it shred in her hand.  She kept pulling pieces out, as we students snickered and chuckled into our fists.

“You know,” Mr. Mullin announced, “if you wanted some Girl Scout cookies, all you had to do was ask.”

I leaped up onto my desk.  “Break out the cookies!” I chimed brightly, as I reached up and snatched the ceiling light booty before it melted.

Mr. Mullin watched in open-mouthed awe as his entire class scurried about the room, pulling cookies from every conceivable cranny and nook.  Soon, shortbread was snapping, mints of thinness were being bitten into, and peanut butter patties were disappearing.  The second half of that class was more of a snackfest than a geometry lesson!

After I had advanced to high school and moved on to college, my mother told me that Mr. Mullin had won some national teacher award, and I thought that was a great thing.  Any teacher who allows his students to raid his Girl Scout cookie stash, then attack it in front of him, is okay in my book!