Christmas Cookies

Oh man, I love my momma’s cookies.

Peanut butter cookies. Chocolate chip. Even oatmeal raisin. Whenever my mom made cookies, she always made them the best. But there was one place where she went from great to godlike when it came to cookies.

Christmas Cookies.

She’d gotten the recipe from her mom, who I’m guessing got it from her mom. The recipe was a carefully protected secret, momma said she’d never written it down, she’d simply been taught by Grandma and had it locked in her memory. I was her oldest son, so when the time came, she’d teach me how.

I never knew when that time would be, she’d just laugh and say be patient. Oh man, these cookies though. Words alone cannot describe. How amazing they are. The perfect amount of moist on the inside, the slightest crunch on the outside. She’d make them into little shapes, bells, trees, even more delicate pieces like reindeer. The antlers would rarely break but when they did I got to eat them.

I’d watch her make them of course, but I could never remember each exact thing she did, or all the measurements. It didn’t help she did most of it whenever I went to bed. That’s a mom for you. The next morning I’d get to frost at least. The frosting was just basic stuff you’d mix up, but momma always instructed not too put too much. Couldn’t hide the cookie under the frosting.

And of course she was right. Every year our whole family would pour nothing but praise on my momma, and I stood beside her, letting them know I had helped and praying for the day I would learn this recipe for myself.

This June though, before momma could pass it down to me… she passed away. Heaven needed a good cook I suppose.

I don’t know what happened, I was at my own house with my own kids at the time. I’d just gotten over to visit and maybe snitch a chocolate chip cookie but there was no answer at the door. I let myself in and there she was, dead as a doornail and laying on her lazy boy chair.

Coroner said it was a heart attack in her sleep, she went quickly and with little pain.

I was inconsolable for days. My wife was a good one by my side, letting me work out my feelings and taking care of all the arrangements for the funeral.

After she was buried though, I was charged with taking care of her things.

And I started to tear apart the house for that damn Christmas Cookie recipe.

I found a bucket load of recipes. How she made that fried chicken ever so crispy, how her Thanksgiving turkeys came out full of flavor. Secrets of a hundred years, joining my own recipes in the recipe box. Her stews, her cakes, her pies, even most of her fantastic cookies.

But nowhere was that Christmas cookie recipe.

I gotta tell you, I nearly lost my damn mind as the months went on. All I could think was if I could make those Christmas Cookies, I’d have just the tiniest piece of my momma still with me. I tried to remember what she did, experimented myself. Nothing came close, I’d spit it out when my teeth sunk into the pastry.

I dug deeper though.

I went to the town library. I started looking through the internet. I asked my other family members for their recipe boxes, just in case it got stuffed in there. Whenever I wasn’t at my job or sleeping, I was on the hunt for my momma’s recipe.

My hair started going gray from the stress when I found it.

It wasn’t exactly what momma did, but the more I read into it, I figured close enough had to be good enough.

So I gathered up the ingredients. Kissed my wife goodnight. Got ready to get to work.

My daughter, Anna-Bella, came in to check on me. “Daddy, are these gonna be for Christmas?” She’d just lost her two front teeth, so Christmas came out more like ‘Chrithhmitth.’ I chuckled and tousled her brown curls.

“You bet so, baby girl. Tomorrow you can help me frost, but you gotta go to bed all right?”

Anna-Bella giggled and gave me one last hug before she ran to her bedroom.

Then I poured the blood of a goat into the chalk circle on the floor and began the conjuring.

Gotta say, momma made good time for being in a coffin six feet under and several months dead. She limped into the kitchen about an hour later, reeking of death. When she attempted to speak, it came out as a hoarse, gurgling hiss.

I extended my arm to the counter. “Momma? Can you teach me to make your Christmas Cookies?”

Momma nodded, her neck making a hollow crack before stumbling to the counter and getting to work.

I made sure to write down everything she did this time, so I could do it myself. Although nothing’s really like a mother’s touch. I suppose next year I’ll just have to raise her again.

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