I had one of those late-night urges for something sweet the other day, so I slipped into my shoes and made my way to the grocery store. As I walked through the cookie aisle, I couldn’t help but to reminisce of childhood memories, grandparents, and holidays.
The old-fashioned oatmeal cookies caught my eye. The kind with the rugged tops and thin layer of icing. Just seeing them took me back to my youth. Stale or fresh out of the pack, there was no wrong way to eat them. They were always in a jar somewhere or in a cabinet with all sorts of other goodies.
That’s what grandparents do. They have cabinets, cupboards, and drawers full of goodies. Maybe when you’re a kid everything seems like a goody. Not just cookies and candies, but also strange things like thimbles, and those soft balls with colorful pins coming out of them. There was always something interesting to find, because to grandparents, all things, small and big, old and new, had value.
Walking down the cookie aisle, I also saw the animal crackers. They sell them in bags now, but they used to sell them in red boxes. You’d pick them up and suddenly you were transported to the circus. Under the big top, seeing large, majestic animals, the spotlight, the clowns, and you eating an animal cracker.
As simple and plain as they were, I used to love them. I liked the pink and white frosted version too, but they seemed a little less magical.
Somehow, it’s the simple, the ordinary things that make us feel at home. A sandwich cookie, the ones that were vanilla on one side and chocolate on the other where always a treat. You’d try to open one just to see what side the filling ended up on. No matter which side, it was good enough to lick off. And sometimes you’d just dunk it into a glass of milk, far enough to get the tips of your fingers wet.
I remember going shopping with grandma and waiting to get to the cookie aisle. I knew she was going to get there eventually and knew she’d end up getting at least a couple of different cookie types. They were usually the bargain brands in the clear, long packages. The kind that felt like they would get crushed after a few minutes in the basket.
Maybe the reason I liked the iced oatmeal cookies is because they felt like someone familiar. They were comforting to look at and easy to understand. They tasted wholesome and sweet. They were always there, and most importantly their presence was an act of love and sharing.
I guess the cookies were more than just temporary pleasures. They were a way for grandparents to show us that we don’t need fancy gifts or expensive thrills that end up losing their shine as time passes. What we really need are times of sharing and making memories over old fashioned oatmeal cookies and animal crackers.
As time passes on, those cookies, and the people that provide them for you, will feel more special than almost anything else in the world.