The Cookie Exchange,or The Great Chocolate Chip Explosion!

Cookie Newbie 

crying baby







I was just reflecting on that Christmas, twenty-six years ago, as I took out the last of this year’s Christmas cookies I had left over in the freezer.

Ah yes, it was Christmas 1988.  I’ll never forget it, as it was the year our daughter, Heather was born.  Things were kind of manic around our house, because things, as usual,  were not going according to plan.  Heather’s arrival was expected around November 30th, and up to December 15th, despite five attempts to hurry things along, and short of employing a stick of dynamite, there was just no way that child was coming out!  Finally on December 16th, the nurse who met me in the case room at the hospital,  after seeing my discouraged face said, “That baby is coming out  today, come hell or high water.” Great! I thought, unconvinced.

Seven o’clock that night, as I lay in my drug induced euphoria, after they finally put me out of my misery and did an emergency C-section, they placed the little pink bundle in my arms.  Everyone was so delighted.  My mother told me later that all the people out at the Orange Lodge where they were attending a dinner and dance, clapped when they heard the news!    Five days later, the nursing staff said I was ready to go home.  It was December 21st.

I don’t know if it was the baby blues setting in, or what, but once I got home and got settled away, I realised that Paul hadn’t put up the Christmas tree.  This ticked me off no end as I had been waddling around, half the size of an elephant before being admitted to hospital, and was not capable of putting up a cut tree.  He was now gone back to work, so it fell to my mother and father to come  and decorate our tree, which Paul had finally shoved in a bucket and set in place in the living room.  Every other year, he had tied the tree onto the wrought iron railing, to secure it, but this year, he figured, it would be fine.

It was not fine.  I was asleep in my bed, the baby settled in for a nap, when I came conscious with a loud crash and the sound of tinkling glass from the direction of the living room.  I arose from my bed to see what was the matter, only to find the Christmas tree on the floor, my father loudly yelling at my mother who was standing on a kitchen chair, holding a box of ornaments in her hand, and pieces of my smashed blown glass ornaments all over the floor.  By the time Paul arrived home, he was being held responsible for being the person who ruined Christmas by not tying the Christmas tree onto the rail.

Around about that time, I received a phone call from a friend of mine, reminding me of my cookie exchange commitment whereby I was supposed to have six batches of cookies ready for Saturday night to exchange with six of our friends.  Having forgotten all about this with waiting on Heather to arrive, and thinking I would have plenty of time to do the cookies after I got home from hospital, I tiredly put on my apron and got out the ingredients to make cookies.  Of course, I had agreed to make my famous chocolate dipped marachino cherry balls, which were a pain in the ass to make, but I sucked it up, tired as I was and got out the pans to melt the chocolate chips over boiling water.

I don’t know if it was the leftover drugs in my system, or the sleep deprivation of being home less than a week with a newborn, but my hazy brain did not see the folly of putting a tight-fitting saucepan containing chocolate chips into the top of another  saucepan of boiling water until it was too late.  Unsuspectingly, I turned my back on the stove for a moment to roll the marachino cherries in coconut buttercream frosting, when suddenly a sound like a shotgun going off exploded over the stove and chocolate chips rained down like shrapnel all over the kitchen.  Paul, who had been hiding out in his workshop came bounding up over the stairs and looked around in wonder before he started to laugh as I stood there with chocolate all over me as the baby started to wail.

Twelve years later, when we did the final cleaning on the house before we moved, I still found chocolate chips up on the ledge up over the upper kitchen cupboard doors.  I haven’t made anything that you have to dip in chocolate since.

One more note…..Heather is an only child, and it wasn’t only because of the colic.



chocolate chips




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