Auntie Mary’s Christmas cookie tin

The cookie tin is full of Russian Tea Cakes.

Did you ever put something deep in a box in your attic and forget you ever had it? No? Well then, let me introduce myself, because I’m the expert. I’ve had enough relatives die that my collections are huge. 

Family, going through the loved one’s possessions: “What shall we do with these items?” Another family member: “I don’t want them. Let’s give them to Cherri. She’ll figure out something to do with them.” 

So earlier this year, I was in the mood to clean the attic. My husband reminded me that those inclinations usually last about three and a half minutes. At the bottom of a tall box containing mysteries from an unknown aunt (I had lots of aunts!) was a metal container with lid intact. 

“Oh! It’s Auntie Mary’s cookie tin! It has to be at least 75 years old.” I knew what would be inside. 

Bob looked at me blankly. “It’s empty,” he said, disappointedly. 

“Of course, silly. It’s only occupied in the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas. And never any cookies except Russian tea cakes with lots of nuts. Yum!” 

Gosh, I didn’t remember I had this. I think I’ll follow tradition and bake some at Thanksgiving and store it on top of the fridge just like she did. My mom didn’t bake cookies, so I was always salivating as we entered Auntie Mary’s kitchen. 

Don’t think the only reason I liked going there was for sweets. We were very close and visited there several times a week. In birth order, she was just 12 months older than my mom. So they grew up playing dolls, etc. because their interests were so similar. 

I also enjoyed their house — a real stairwell with about a hundred comic books on shelves at the top. We didn’t have a TV, so I got to hear Kate Smith sing “God Bless America” on theirs. And my uncle was a funny guy. But I was on alert if my cousin Denny was home. He was three years older than me and a classic bully. He never laid a hand on me, but the verbal insults were frequent and cutting. 

However, I admired his talents in drama club and longed to be not so shy and get to be in plays at school. Mostly, I wanted the nerve to stand up to him. 

Since their house was only two blocks from school, we often ate lunch there to save money. When I was a high school freshman, I’d had enough. He was insulting me as usual, and suddenly the glass of milk I was drinking jumped out of my hand and sloshed all the way down the front of his shirt. I jumped up and ran out the door as he was ripping his shirt off and shouting unprintable words. 

Wow! I can’t believe I just told you that story. I had never acted that way in my whole life. My feelings were ambivalent — ashamed but a strange sense of satisfaction! I don’t think I ever ate lunch at his house again. 

Anyway, my whole point of telling about the cookie tin is that I will be placing it (full) at the front counter of the CourierTraveler office, 201 E. 9th Ave., in Winfield  Dec. 2-20. Stop in and have a sweet straight from my own oven. You even get a choice — with nuts or without. Think of your own holiday memories. If you eat them all, I’ll make more. 

Merry Christmas! 


Cherri Baer of Winfield is retired from nursing and from being a domestic disaster recovery coordinator.

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