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Cookie Monster
I saw the familiar cookie order sheet at work but decided I'd rather support the troops closer to home. So I waited for a Girl Scout to come to my door. And waited. Until it occurred to me that perhaps the neighborhood children had grown along with mine and there were no Girl Scouts. Or that I was blacklisted for the Thin Mint incident two years ago, when I chased down a Scout in her mother's car after she dropped off the wrong order. Let me assure the Girl Scout organization: that was the last time I ran after chocolate.

It was also the last time I ran.

I couldn't let this setback stop me from continuing the Thin Mint tradition/obsession started by my mother. For the sake of nostalgia and gluttony, I searched the Girl Scout Web site and sent e-mails to coordinators in my area as well as three nearest towns. You can never be too thorough in situations like this.

I heard from a local leader who said her daughter would be glad to come to my home. I suggested she take the order via e-mail, which was much more convenient (for her) and quick (for me).

A few weeks later I was at the library and spotted Girl Scout cookies behind the desk. I was so overwrought, I nearly knocked over the books on the "Eat Right" display table.

Where was my order? What if my e-mail got lost and they ran out of Thin Mints? I immediately wrote to my connection: "I just saw someone with a few boxes and I began drooling." She said she'd just gotten the cookies and if I gave her my phone number she could arrange a drop-off.

I gave her my phone number, street address, ATM code and high school locker combination. I didn't want to risk anything slowing down the process.

The Scout leader called while I was out, my husband noting she seemed relieved. "The poor woman sounded scared to tell you she couldn't make it tonight."

I felt terrible that I caused stress and wrote her with assurances that the weekend would be fine. "After all," I continued, "I'm not some nut case! Ha-ha. So, we're talking this Saturday, right?"

I started my vigil on that cold February Saturday at 8 a.m., sitting on the front bench. During one of my frostbite-prevention breaks, my daughter (assigned lookout because her room has a view of the street) announced, "The cookies are here!"

I grabbed my pre-written check and swung open the front door before the Girl Scout got out of the car. While she struggled with the boxes, I scanned them like a new mother counting toes. I slipped the check between the girl's fingers and began to gather my precious dark green boxes.

Her: You're welcome.
Me: My son has friends over, so I'm going to hide most of these.
Me: That way I can save them for myself.

She laughed politely, like someone who's been warned of the Thin Mint Cookie Fruitcake. And while that sounds delicious, it didn't explain why the Girl Scout was following me into the house. Then I noticed in the excitement I had grabbed a handful of her long hair along with the boxes and was pulling her through my doorway. We were crossing my threshold, her face crammed between columns of boxes, when I finally released her.

My husband bets I made quite an impression on that Scout family, as in "pathetic." I wouldn't take that bet, but I'm confident the girl's hair will grow back by next year's cookie season. I hope she wears it up.

[March 7, 2007]

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