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.