mrs. moes cookies

Ten thousand years ago when summers were long and the sun shone every day, when you could play outside up and down the street after supper until the streetlights came on and the lawns had that almost-evening coolness that felt so good on bare legs and made a soft place to lie down and wonder how many leaves or blades of grass or grains of sand or snowflakes there were in the world and if numbers big enough had even been invented, when afternoons were lived on bicycles, beside the lake, or in trees, and long before your parents grew old, long before you even knew such a thing was possible, in the days when people were still called Mrs. whether they liked it or not     —  Mrs. Moes made some cookies and brought them over on a blue plate.

You had at least three at the picnic table with a glass of Koolaid (flavour forgotten) and your parents had coffee and your mother may have been a little miffed at how well those cookies were going down… it’s possible she said something like too buttery if you ask me… and when the plate was empty and washed and you were sent next door to return it to Mrs. Moes and to remember to say thank you…. you could hardly believe it when she smiled and said You’re very welcome  and did not refill the plate.

Years and years later, in your twenties, you asked Mrs. Moes for the recipe for “those cookies that day” and she knew exactly what you meant and she recited the recipe to you right there as you scribbled down what she said.

Maybe you got something wrong because they didn’t turn out anything like you remembered. Or maybe the magic was in the blue plate or the surprise of the gift or the happy unlimited picnic table munching.

Did she ever ask you how they turned out?

Maybe. Maybe not. You don’t remember.

Did you ever make them again?


But you still have the recipe you scribbled that day.

Its purpose no longer to magic up a plate of possibly too buttery cookies, but as a portal to a time of cool nighttime lawns and numbers too big to imagine.


4 thoughts on “mrs. moes cookies

  1. Ah, Carin, this gorgeous post is itself a portal to so much memory: Mrs. McNiff and a plate of oatmeal cookies on a summer afternoon and her weiner dog named Kurt and a mortifying trip into her laundry room to receive an application of laundry bluing on my five-year-old butt because I’d sat on a bee on her lawn. In that time of cool nighttime lawns and numbers too big to imagine, little girls could roam the neighbourhood and knock on doors and waltz into the houses of the Mrs. Moeses and the Mrs. McNiffs and the Mrs. Sherwoods. And Fanny. I don’t know why we called Fanny by her first name. She was entirely in the same category as the others. But perhaps she didn’t like to be called Mrs. Akenhead. I have no memories of cookies baked by Fanny, but every year at Christmas she would make a large wreath out of cello-wrapped red and green candies and carry it across the street to our house and present it to my mother, who would give it pride of place in the center of the fireplace. Fanny would have adorned the wreath with a festive bow and tied a small pair of scissors to one end of its ribbon for snipping off the candies. All through the Christmas holidays, the wreath would hang from the mantle. By the time Mom took the decorations down on New Year’s Day, nothing would be left but a bare metal form and a pair of scissors dangling forlornly from a string.

    1. I love the string of names. And Fanny. Of course she’s the one I’d most like to meet. If only because she didn’t want to be called Mrs. And her candy wreath! With scissors yet. What a marvellous detail. Thanks for sharing that wonderfulness! Truly. Thank you. That is exactly what I hope such posts inspire… xo

  2. Your post triggers cookie memories for me too… When Tante Elizabeth (not our real aunt, but immigrant kids fill up missing slots by calling some of their parents’ friends aunt and uncle) brought her hand-cranked grinder to our house and changed the meat to a star opening to make our Christmas cookies. Long twists of dough were shaped into S’s on the cookie sheet. Same ingredients as Mrs. Moes used. …We need simple touchstones to keep us sane during crazy times.

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