I am feeling blessed.  Yes…I know.  It’s such an overused cliché but with dwindling gray matter, it’s all I can come up with at this here, spur-of-the-moment writing.

Cookie and me....

Cookie and me….

I had a friend visit for the weekend. Middle-earth land is not, by any measure, an exciting travel destination.  But my friend “Cookie” braved an 8-hour trek in the car, sans hubby, just to see me…in “middle-earth” Alabama.  Only one other person has done that (besides family)…which meant the world to me.

I’ve known “Cookie” since I was about fourteen.  We couldn’t have been more different.  I was brought up in such a severely sheltered, dysfunctional manner that when I met Cookie I must have appeared to her as a rather pathetic looking “deer in the headlights” sort.  Yet, she took me in without a blink, and under her wing…as a project of sorts: The Education of Cristina.  Cookie was arguably 100 times more intelligent, street smart, worldly, and savvier than I.  From the moment I met her I hung on her every word. Her house was where I went to my first coed party.  If my parents had known I’m sure I would have been placed six-feet under.  My life was so tightly wrapped by them that I wasn’t even allowed to date until after high-school.  Wrap your head around that one folks.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough time!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough time!

Naturally, when it came to boys, I’d blush a thousand shades of red over the smallest of things. I tripped over my tongue with every attempted conversation and was too shy to even look a fellow straight in the eye.  I’d marvel at Cookie’s ease of navigating through those teen years.  She had amazing confidence, drive and natural ability with just about everything she touched.  I’d marvel too that she would eat chocolate-chip cookie dough straight out of the mixing bowl, and when baking a cake, with pure enjoyment she’d lick the mixing blades like an ice-cream cone.  To this day when I bake cookies, I’ll scoop a dollop of cookie dough to enjoy, an act that often transports me back in time to the place where two fifteen-year-old girls in a tiny kitchen, in complete disarray from baking sweet treats, laughed and cried over boys, school and life in general.   This may seem incredibly silly to most folks, but looking back…it is not a stretch of the imagination to state that those kitchen moments with Cookie were critical to my slow and often painful journey of becoming something more than just a battered wall-flower.  In the years that followed, I’d be lucky enough to meet another woman “Miss Sue” that continued the “project”…and then two more lovely souls after Miss Sue.  So yes, I’m feeling humbled and fortunate beyond words to have met some amazing women who have helped shaped my life, so far.

Cookie and I lost touch after college for a number of reasons but the universe must have understood that once again I was in dire need of someone who had my back through thick and thin.  In her infinite wisdom the universe conspired to bring us back together and I’m immensely pleased.  This weekend, I haven’t laughed so much (nor drank so much wine) since spending time with my San Antonio best friend back in January.   Cookie has been a breath of fresh air just when I needed it most.  She listened…she gave her two cents (and more) and made us laugh and ponder heavily upon her sometimes unconventional insights. She allowed us to drag her to a few of the ‘Bama-land sights such as the Space and Rocket Center as well as a quirky St. Patrick’s Day parade that was held downtown.

With any luck, she’ll never be back to middle-earth (don’t worry…it’s all good!) as instead it will be visits galore to my next abode which will surely be in a location that has much more to offer as far as interesting sights, recreation, and entertainment.  Oh the places we will go! 

St. Patrick's Day sight

St. Patrick’s Day sight

Best moment of the weekend?  When Cookie proclaimed:  “Let’s bake cookies!”

So there we were.  Together again. OKAY…so the years have…um…matured us inside and out, but still we are just two girls in the kitchen. This time my kitchen. The counter littered with cookie baking items and instructions of what to do were flying this way and that.  And yes, the scene was just a wee-bit different from some 44 years ago:  This time we each had a glass of red wine in hand.  And, we’ve got better technology on our side this time around: A sturdy Kitchen Aid mixer, a double oven, the iPhone as our timer, and Spotify for background music.

The very best part? Infinitely better than sampling a warm-from-the-oven chocolate chip cookie?

That dollop of cookie dough from the mixing bowl straight to the mouth.

Bliss.

Thank you Cookie…from the bottom of my heart.