When my kids were little, we lived on a little street in Palo Alto, California. It was a quaint little street really, even though we were just barely "in" Palo Alto, separated from the different universe of East Palo by a mere freeway. But our little street was it's own community. We had bar-b-que's, pool parties, watched out for each other's kids and really had a wonderful time. In the midst of all this lived an elderly woman in a funky little house. There were Calla Lilys in her front yard. Her driveway was painted in a checkerboard pattern and she would putter around, sweeping her drive, tending to her roses ("Peace Roses", she told me) and generally living a quiet existence.
My children loved to go visit her and after some time I discovered why. She was the Cookie Lady. Everytime they visited she gave them a cookie. They were the cheapest, unhealthiest cookies you can imagine, which my health-food mama soul cringed against. But what actually made me feel bad after a time was that I knew that she was living on a limited budget. She was on her own and lived a very simple life. But she insited that she should be able to do this for the children and they loved her for it. So they ate the cookies. They brought them smiles and the children loved visiting her. As they grew older she bought cheap versions of classic books for them, I remember The Jungle Book by Kipling was one. She cared for these children and really meant a lot to all of us.
Well, I guess it is my turn. Across the street live a family of construction workers. They are working on the site next door to us and the couple have two young children, Abdul and Reshma, who are three and one years old. A couple of weeks ago I gave them a cookie. A day or so later I did it again. Now, it has become a daily occasion and they expect it. Though I do limit it to one a day! So here are my cookie monsters...
(... is a fairly lousy photo technically, but as stated before, I have a weakness for cute kids!)
Oh- and our cookie lady? That was Miriam Patchen, wife of the poet Kenneth Patchen, and here is a bit more about her. Yep. She wasn't just some little old lady. And those cookies? They may have been the cheapest and unhealthiest cookies, but they were certainly nourishment for my children's souls.