Friday, August 9, 2013

A SIMPLE PLATE OF COOKIES

Some years my family moved from our hometown, friends and family, to a new home in a new state and town.  There is always a certain amount of fearfulness about fitting in, making friends, and being accepted, and these thoughts were in all of our heads.  Even our children were apprehensive about this move, and hated to leave behind their friends, to start over again in this new neighborhood.  I have learned from past experience that not everyone will come running to your front door to meet you, if you are a new move in, but I knew that we could either sit back and hope it will happen or we could be proactive to make it happen.  We took the proactive approach and created a plan to meet our neighbors.

People love cookies, and I know that unless you are severely diabetic, nobody will refuse the offer of a freshly baked cookie.  I gathered up my children, and together we added the ingredients to make our best recipe of chocolate chip cookies.  After they were baked and cooled, we divided them up on several paper plates, making sure that we left one for our own family.  Then we made a plan about who should be the lucky recipients of our cookies.  This would be our way of meeting them, and hopefully putting a smile on their face in the process.  We were excited and everyone eagerly participated.

We selected 4 different families in our neighborhood to deliver these cookies to.  The very first family we picked lived directly across the street from us.  When we had moved in, and before we had our phone, we needed to make a phone call, and asked if we could make a call from their home.  They were kind enough to let us in, and so we thought that we would return the favor. 

With my children's faces wiped off, and hair combed, we took our cookies and walked across the street to present one to this family.  We knocked on the door and the mother opened the door.  She had quite a surprised and perplexed look on her face.  Maybe me any all my children were a little bit overwhelming, so I quickly said, "We wanted to thank you for the use of your phone a couple days ago, so we baked you some cookies."  My kids were all smiling and excited about sharing but somehow she didn't seem as happy to receive them as we were to give. 

She then said, "Why are you giving me a plate of cookies?"

I said, "Because we wanted to say thank-you."

She then said, "Who does this?  Why the cookies?"

My kids began to squirm around and became a bit uncomfortable, as our best efforts seemed to be questioned like we had put poison in the cookies or maybe we were trying to sell them or something.

The woman's mouth was pretty much open, with jaw dropped and her kids had gathered around her at peering through the doorway at us.  I wanted to cut the uneasiness a bit, so I then said,
"We live across the street and wanted to meet you.  This is our way of meeting you."

Once again, the woman said, "But why the cookies?"

I brushed it off and began to name the names and ages of my children and then said that we hoped that we could become good friends one day.  My kids were only too anxious to leave their uncomfortable presence, until finally she said, "Well thank you!" (That thank-you seemed to have a question mark at the end of it.)

She went on to say, "Nobody has ever brought them a plate of cookies or anything, and that she was so surprised that she didn't know what to do or what to say."

I said, "that's ok," and my daughter continued... "Maybe you will get more use to it if we keep bringing you cookies again."  At that our neighbor smiled and seemed to warm up and her kids were pulling on the plate of cookies, to get a better look at them. 

We said a quick good-by and walked back across the street.  I gathered my kids around in our family room,  and the conversation when something like this....."Who doesn't like cookies?" "Wow that was uncomfortable." 

I asked the kids how they felt about giving the cookies away, and each of them said that it made them happy, even though they weren't received in the way that they had hoped.

Time went by and so did plates of cookies, casseroles, and many other goodies.  We became friends with this neighbor, and we all knew that happiness does come into our heart when we give something away, even as simple as cookies. 

Kathleen Gauger