My son-in-law dropped by my classroom with the words, "What time are you leaving today? Sara wants you home as soon as possible."
I glanced at the clock and replied, "I'll try to leave by 3:30."
What had I been thinking? An evening of baking cookies after a full day of teaching! Sometimes I question my own sanity.
A full hour later, pealing bells (my Christmas ring tone) announced my daughter's call.
"Mom, where are you? Someone's in the driveway, and you're not even here!"
"Sorry, Sara, I was working on flipping the Newbery books for tomorrow. I'm headed out the door."
I locked my classroom door, prayed that no one would see the complete chaos I left behind, and berated myself for planning such an event on a school night.
As I walked in the door, Patty and Karen were already working on the pretzels topped with kisses and soon to be adorned with Christmas M&M's after a quick warm-up in the oven. Sara was mixing up the dough for press cookies while my friends noted my vintage cookie press in its original box, with the recipe torn from Mom's vintage Betty Crocker cookbook . As soon as I open this box each year, I'm a little girl again in the kitchen on Tyler Street baking with my mom.
I start the Marshmallow Creme Fudge. I stir the mixture constantly with the wooden spoon, softball stage arrives quickly, and we add the chocolate chips and vanilla. Then it's time to fold in the marshmallow creme, add the walnuts, and pour the warm chocolate into the buttered pan. Everyone gets a spoon for a taste of warm fudge.
Patty and I quickly mix up a double batch of Molasses Crinkles, Sara starts the Hello Dolly bars, Amy mixes her Peanut Butter Blossoms, and Nancy melts white chocolate for dipping her Oreos. Kay offers her help to anyone in need of an extra hand.
My daughter offers to clean the kitchen while we play a few hands of chicken foot. Everyone leaves with a green Glad container filled with goodies to share.
My first evening like this was over 25 years ago when I joined my fellow teachers from Monte Cassino at Sharon's house for an evening of baking. Every year, I've longed to do the same thing with my friends. I hug my daughter whose gift of time made this dream evening a reality for me and my friends from IMS.