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It was Just a Simple Cookie

Story ID:5543
Written by:Michael Timothy Smith (bio, link, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Writers Conference:My Favorite Holiday Story
Location:unknown Wisconsin
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It was Christmas Eve. She sat alone in her tiny apartment. It wasn’t much, but she
was sheltered and warm. It was small but all she needed. Each morning she rose and fed
what she playfully called her “livestock” – a parakeet named Skylar and her small fish.
She thought Skylar was a fitting name for her bird. It meant eternal life, strength, love
and beauty.

She’d spend Christmas alone again this year. Her two daughters lived miles away
and would not be able to visit until after Christmas. She was fine with that. After three
abusive marriages, being alone was a treat. As with most people, Christmas was a time
for reflection.

She sat and stared at her Christmas tree. A memory shined like a star. Her cousin
was dying from cancer and stayed with her family that Christmas so long ago. They
wanted her to have the best Christmas ever. Even though she was weak, her cousin
made cookies. They were hand painted with the best care her weakening fingers could
manage. The cookies were not eaten. They were hung on the tree as a tribute to a life
that would soon be lost.

A year later, her cousin was gone. They made cookies in her memory. Each
child had to share the icing. She was the last. Her cookie was a patchwork of the leftover
icing, but still she was proud.

The cookies hung on the tree. She and the other children wanted to eat them, but they were meant to be ornaments and a remembrance.

This year, she thought of those cookies. A craving came over her. This Christmas
she wanted a cookie. It wasn’t much to ask for. All she wanted was a simple frosted
sugar cookie.

She didn’t bake much herself. She never had the knack for it.

Her thoughts followed her life journey. The first mother-in-law handed out store-
bought cookies. It was a good thing, because that woman couldn’t bake.

The second mother-in-law gave large bags of sugar-coated cookies. She was
excited, until she bit into the first one. They were paper thin and tasted horrible.
She made them with bacon grease instead of lard – something they did when times
were tough.

The third mother-in-law made great cookies.

She sat in her chair, stared at the tree, listened to her parakeet, and drooled for
a frosted sugar cookie. “Lord, I don’t need much, but right now, I would love a
frosted sugar cookie. I could sit in front of my electric fireplace, sip a cup of tea, and
remember a wonderful moment in my life. It’s not too much to ask on this special

“You need to answer so many prayers. Most need more than I do, but a cookie
would be great on the birthday of your son. It’s all I ask.”

The year before, she saw a cookie in the store. It was expensive, but she thought
it would be worth it – just a frosted Christmas tree, not too much to ask for. She took it
home and prepared her tea. A cookie and tea were great together, but the cookie was hard
as rock and inedible. She was disappointed.

On this Christmas Eve, she opened the door of her small apartment and found a
clear plastic bag tied with a shiny ribbon attached to her door. It was a wink from God.
Inside were three cookies. Each door of the complex had the same. Included with the bag
was a business card from a new neighbor. “Merry Christmas!”

They were Christmas cookies. One was frosted, the answer to her prayers. The
second was a candy cane covered in colored sugar. The third was a sugared-covered
Christmas tree with sprinkles. They were a simple gift from her new neighbor, but her
heart swelled with joy.

On Christmas Eve, as the light in the sky dimmed, she sat in her chair,
stared at the fire, and thought, “Yes! There is a God in Heaven, and he answers even
the smallest prayers.”

It was just a simple cookie.

Michael T. Smith