laura packardThe Honorable General Beauregard Lee of the great state of Georgia was right on the money again.

 Spring has come early this year.

            And if the deep prognostication of a dapper Southern woodchuck isn’t enough to convince you, there are many other telltale signs popping up like sunshine from earthly bulbs all over the Lowcountry, as well.

            There’s the dervish green churn of Zyrtec-resistant pollen clouds and extra loud motors of lawn mowing machines. There are the gnawing bites of a teeny gnat, the throbbing ache of a wild bee sting and the bruising of feet not yet broken in . . . the picking of bright daffodils and plump, ripe strawberries; raw sweetness in honey dripped lace.

            Yes, these are the first signs of spring.

            Another sign, my most favorite one, simply comes stylishly packaged and in several delicious, mouthwatering flavors including Thin Mint, Samoa’s (caramel delights), Tagalongs (peanut butter patties), Do-si-dos and Trefoils and at a cool $5 even a box to boot.

            That’s right. It’s not just springtime but Girl Scout Cookie time; one of the single most yummy times of the year. A time when you can inhale an entire sleeve of chocolate minty goodness in one sitting and in good conscious; knowing you’re helping to empower the future women entrepreneurs and leaders everywhere.

            Let’s face it, y’all. Cookies, along with the sun’s gravitational pull, make the world go ‘round. Julia Childs would say, “a party without a cake is just a meeting.” Well, this may be true. But a world without cookies . . . and in the wise words of the poetess Alanis Morissette . . . would be like “rain on your wedding day,” “a free ride when you’ve already paid,” or “good advice that you just didn’t take.” This isn’t ironic, it (being a world without cookies) is and always will be straight up harrowing, inappropriate and criminal to say the least.

            Now, I married into a family of cookie connoisseurs. Trust me. This means I know stuff. My mom-in-law, a successful chef and caterer now retired, has made and continues to make the most scrumptious cookies known to sweet humanity. I have tried them all, cause that’s what you do . . . they’re cookies; there are also pinwheels, pin rolls, swirls and whirls, black & whites, crispy biscuits, biscottis, short breads, macaroons, crescents, crisps, bars and balls.

            I believe she became a master cookie dough maker because she was raising three children on her own, paying the bills and making the peace. See, to each his own, how the cookie crumbles or my way or the highway . . . everyone has different tastes.

            Charlie, my husband, is a straight up and down, tried and true, chocolate chip cookie guy. This means he likes his cookies thin, moist with a slight buttery crunch and ONLY chocolate chips. His older brother, Tommy, likes his cookies the same exact way only with added nuts. No one remembers what their older sister, Helen, wanted because all they can recall is she was a teenage girl, somewhat moody, never home . . . ya know, an enigma wrapped in a riddle, meaning she was there all along. She just stayed locked in her room. And who could blame her? She had to share a bathroom with those two fools.

            Sometimes, the boys would come to blows. Especially, over the last strawberry Pop-Tart, Dungeons and Dragons (one thought it was cool, one not so much), Atari time, who ate the left-over hamburger patty for breakfast or if mom made the cookies with or without nuts (meaning she really did, in fact, have a favorite son.) One thing they did agree on was they both hated raisins in their cookies . . . and oatmeal. For these two things only, they will forever stand united.

            Tommy describes it this way:

            “You know how you get excited as a kid on Christmas morning, seeing all the presents, tearing into them. I see a sheet pan of fresh baked cookies my mom has just taken out of the oven and I am that excited. Then when you bite into it, expecting warm melted chocolate and buttery nutty goodness, you get a raisin, encased in a hard shell of bitter oat, instead. It not only feels like finding out your dog just died, but that your very own mother ran over it with her mini-van. On purpose.”



            So, in reverence to Juliette Gordon Lowe who heated up the original oven and fired up the cause, thank you. And congratulations to all the Girl Scouts out there, future, past, present and beyond on your 100-year anniversary of investing and encouraging generations of women.

            Cookies can and will move sugary mountains and flour-caked hills. They will always bring us together, with a pure simple sweetness like spring, along the way.
              Love y’all. Stay sweet.