Ruby, she of the intoxicating Southern twang, Evelyn’s best friend and the only person in Supported Living, aside from Mom, who disliked neck massages. She was, however, a huge fan of my cookies.
Every Christmas I bake cookies—lots and lots of cookies. No chocolate chip cookies here but Russian tea cakes, hazelnut linzer cookies, biscotti, arcane shortbreads, thumbprints, chocolate madeleines. cardamom crescents, lemon bars, pucklewarts, Spitzpuben, toffee squares, walnut acorn cookies and the most labor intensive of them all and Ruby’s favorite, miniature cream cheese pastry cups with a pecan pie filling. I find myself in frenzy, unable to stop, using a ridiculous amount of butter and nuts.
About six or seven years ago, I began bringing them to Evelyn and Ruby in Supported Living. Sharp as tacks, they knew a good thing when they saw or tasted one…or two or three.
When Evelyn was 103, she experienced a spate of ill-health.
Well, she declared. I’m 103. It’s time for me to die.
She settled back to await the end, receiving a train of friends and family saying goodbye.
Me? Evelyn, I think it’s time I baked you some cookies.
I brought her a big plate of cookies, which she politely ate.
Lo and behold. She rallied and was back on her feet in no time.
From that item on, Ruby was convinced that the cookies were the secret to a long life. Every time I visited, cookies were expected, preferably lots of them and preferably the labor intensive ones.
And when I left I would hear Ruby’s clarion call. Get in the kitchen and start cooking!
Yes ma’am! Time to start baking.