Nowadays, you don’t need to know a Girl Scout to get those delicious cookies, but you DO need to know roughly when to start looking for them. Everyone knows that the Cookie Fairies deliver to the Scouts in late winter, but actually finding them takes a bit of patience, skill, and luck. Now, before you tell me that I can look online and see which troops will be selling cookies on which days at which convenient nearby locations in my area, I know. But where’s the fun in that? I much prefer the challenge of stalking the likely Girl Scout hangouts (local restaurants and grocery stores are the Scout equivalent of Serengeti watering holes) and waiting, stealthily, until they tentatively emerge from the minivan underbrush, darting their eyes nervously for predators- er, customers- and then pouncing them before some other stealthy explorer gets there ahead of me and buys all the Thin Mints. Serendipitous snacks are indubitably the tastiest.
Today’s safari trail (otherwise known as running the routine Saturday errands) was particularly productive, and I stumbled upon two herds of entrepreneurial Girl Scouts. The first energetically built a rainbow wall of boxes- red, orange, yellow, green, light blue, dark blue, and purple. It was a beautiful sight. Then, a woman needed a green box and a light blue box, and the girl in charge of customer management carefully, c-a-r-e-f-u-l-l-y slid out the boxes, Jenga style. The rainbow collapsed. The girl in charge of rainbow building and customer cookie choice record-keeping giggled. The second group had a sign, full of multicolored and multi patterned bubble letters and the requisite amount of glitter that must be used by any girls of a certain age, asking if we stealthy hunters had ever been Scouts, and if so, to share our stories.
I was a Brownie and a Girl Scout, and my cookie years were not so exciting. We did not have cookie tables and Scout watering hole hangouts, and we were still expected to go door-to-door. I, however, was not allowed to go around knocking on stranger’s doors (after all, a STRANGER could open it!), so my selling was limited to family members, neighbors, and my parents’ hapless co-workers. On one particularly memorable occasion, my stepfather, who was a regular bowler, took me to the alley with him on league night. I was allowed to talk to the bowlers (as long as I diligently blocked out any of what my mother called “bowling words” and never, EVER repeated them) because they were not exactly strangers. I took cookie orders hand over fist, convinced that I was making a Thin Mint of cookie scented dollars. I was briefly a hero to my troop, although we never came close to winning the regional contest for the most cookies sold. (How many hapless co-workers did those girls’ parents have anyway?)
One year, when my mom was troop leader for my little sister’s Brownie troop, she was the designated cookie collector from the cookie distribution point. (Childless people may not know this, but this is what moms do with their three minutes a day of extra time, muttering bowling words under their breath the entire time because it takes 45 minutes.) This was like kid heaven. We took the trusty Ford Pinto to a huge house near my grandma’s condo. I had always loved this mysterious gated house, because it had both a porte-cochere and a real thatch roof. Believe me, you just don’t get thatch in Southern California. I used to walk down the street from Grandma’s and stare in awe at this house through the bars in the gate. In fact, I think that may be why Mom took me along. After all, what sane woman takes a child to giant house filled with thirty million Girl Scout cookies? Anyway, Mom, the trusty Pinto, and I got to cross the gated threshold, drive through the porte-cochere, and enter the fairy tale thatched roof house to fulfill our quest for something like 50 cases of cookies. We entered what I took to be a ballroom which was wall to wall and floor to ceiling cookies, with a lot of harried looking grown-up women milling around. I got to hold a clipboard, and check cookies off a list! (As a child, I thought filling out forms was possibly the most exciting and grown-up thing imaginable.) We filled the station wagon with cookies. There were cookies in the back, and in the front seat, and in the glove compartment, and in all the footwells. As we drove away from the fairy tale house, I was a waving cookie princess, seated on her cardboard cookie case throne.
Now, if you will excuse me, I need to don my imaginary crown and settle down with a cup of tea and a Thin Mint with my name on it. If you look carefully, you might even see me wave.
(Many thanks to bevbaird for sharing, on Monday, her link to the March photo challenge list that she’s using in conjunction with her writing for the SOLC18. Today’s topic is food!)