Tuesday, December 1, 2015
I can't watch "I Love Lucy" anymore. It reminds me too much of her. The same strong will, the sheer determination. Nothing stood between Lucy and her crazy scheme. They were so much alike.
Like the time with the cookies. It was Christmastime 1990 and thanks to a Bush in the White House, we were building up to a war- Desert Shield, it was called at that time. Mom was seeing TV reports of all the troops away from home for the holiday and she wanted to do something nice for them. Somewhere she stumbled across a cookie recipe that was approved by the Marine Corps. It contained no processed sugar, instead it used fruit juice for sweetener. She baked a trial batch and declared it "not bad". She decided that instead of holiday cookies for the family, she would forego that this year and bake cookies for the troops instead.
I admit I encouraged her, I thought it was a cute little project that would give her something fun to do. I guessed she would make ten dozen, maybe twenty at the outset. It would give her something to talk about to the card club.
It seemed like The cookies were taking a long time to bake. Every time we talked she was mixing dough, or had a batch in the oven. And I knew that Patsy always thought big, I began to wonder exactly how many cookies she planned to bake. But it was her gig, and I didn't interfere.
Finally the cookies were ready to ship. At that point I asked her point blank how many she had made. "Eleven Hundred" she said somewhat sheepishly. ""Eleven Hundred Cookies?" I asked. ""No," she replied tentatively- "Eleven Hundred Dozen."
Eleven Hundred Dozen. Eleven Hundred DOZEN. She baked Thirteen Thousand Two Hundred cookies to send to the desert to feed to young men and women that she would never meet. She spent more than a month on the project. The Marines had to send four trucks to pick them all up. She received a Commendation from the Marine Corps Commander.
I told this story at the time to a client who chuckled and said, "Your Mother is quite a patriot". Yes, she was. And she was quite a Mom.
Originally published in Feb. 2008. Happy Birthday, Patsy.