On Christmas Eve, Annie and I spent a few hours in the kitchen baking Mom Mom Duffield’s candy cane cookies. It wasn’t as easy as the recipe suggested, but we tackled it and made a huge amount of red and white batter. We forgot to add the granular sugar in one batch, but then couldn't remember if we added it along with the powdered sugar in the second batch. It didn’t matter. The batter tasted great anyway. And the secret was that crazy almond extract. And even better, we once again possessed that Betty Crocker “Cooky Book”, thanks to Amazon and Annie’s search.
Before Thanksgiving this year, I lost one of my pretty green peridot and diamond earrings somewhere in or outside this house. Before Mom Mom passed away in 2003, she gave me those earrings and I was particularly irritated at myself for losing one now, after all these years. I wrapped the lone earring in a tissue and carefully stored it in my jewelry box. So, getting ready that Christmas Eve morning, I glanced at the rolled tissue in my jewelry box. I said out loud, “God - this would surely be a great day to find that earring, considering Annie and I are gonna bake “her” cookies from the Cooky Book tonight.”
We laughed as we tried to roll out the dough, the white and red, twisting and pinching the strands. Our candy cane shapes weren’t too pretty; more like a fat flat Peter Max creation, but they sure did smell and taste good. I decided to make the leftover batch green and turn them into wreaths. Much easier to roll out and bend in a circle. We laughed and thought, “Mom Mom, no wonder you were in the kitchen for days making these things!” My wreaths baked up to look more like monster truck tires.
This was the first year too for me to put lights on my outdoor shrubs around our porch here in Tennessee. And it’s also the first Christmas without our Pop Geo and brother Wayne. Lots and lots of thoughts and emotions for sure. I took a break from the hot kitchen to catch a glimpse of that awesome full moon. Outside on the front yard while I walked across the grass, I saw something shining and reflecting from the lights. It was flickering as if it was on fire. I bent down to see what it was, and behold - there was my earring! My green birthstone diamond peridot earring that Mom Mom and Pop Geo gave me. I ran into the house and shouted, “I can’t believe this! I found my earring!”
The likelihood that I’d drape Christmas lights on my shrubs this year? Rare. The chances that I’d go outside to see the full moon that night? It’s possible. And the change of the cookie dough to green? Crazy. And the reflection of a flickering green twinkle light revealing my treasured green peridot earring in a sea of green grass? A miracle. A surreal green miracle. Thank you, Mom Mom, for smiling upon us and thank you, God, for showing me how to pay attention, again.