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Oatmeal Cookies

Mrs. Gilson’s Oatmeal Cookies

(Adventures in the Neighborhood)

Donna Gilson was my bff from first grade through 7th. She lived on the “poor” side of town, I lived on the “rich” side of town, but neither of us was either. We were kids.

I stayed over at Donna’s house one Friday night, as I usually did, and the next day we had to wait for Mrs. Gilson to get up before we could go outside. She worked third shift as a nurses’ aide, but she was usually up by about noon.

When she started stirring, I would put on the coffee, Donna would make some oatmeal for her, and then we’d blap a bit. She was So Nice I called her Mama. (Her husband was nice too, but I called him “Mr. Gilson.” He worked six days a week, so he was already long gone by then.)

After Mrs. Gilson’s shower, we would usually go out to the yard, or ride our bikes in the street, keeping an eye on Donna’s younger sister and brother. But this weekend we had an important mission. See, a neighbor down the street had recently died, and her husband told Donna that he said he was lonely and sad now. So, we just picked some flowers and headed to his house.

I was excited because he lived in a mobile home, and I had never seen one. When we got there he was very touched by the bouquet we’d brought. He showed us around a little, and said to call him “Bob.” Then we went back to the living room and he gave us each a beer! Visiting is good! We should do this more often!

I didn’t like the beer too much but I didn’t want to be a baby about it, so I drank more anyway. I liked how I was starting to feel. Suddenly, there was a knock on the door and we heard Bob say, “Hello, Arlene!” Then our stomachs sank: we heard Mrs. Gilson say “Hi Bob, are the girls here?” WTH?

She came in and talked with Bob for a few minutes, then said “Well, I need the girls at home now.” Ohhhhhh Noooooo! Yep!

As we walked home, Mama said “I need some cookies for work tonight, and I need you girls to make them.”

So back home we trodded, pulled out a BIG saucepan, and Donna basically had control of this op – I did the measuring:

½ cup of milk, ½ cup of butter, 2 cups of sugar and 4 tablespoons of cocoa. Donna stirred it until it boiled, then I had to time it for one minute. After that we put in ½ cup of peanut butter, 3½ cups of “quick” oats, and 2 teaspoons of vanilla.

I had to stir, and I was sure that the wooden spoon would break, but it didn’t. Then we scooped it out using tablespoons and teaspoons, dropping it in balls onto some small sheets of waxed paper. Then, we ate, oh, a Bunch of them!

Then we layered the waxed paper sheets with the “droplets” on them into a tin and put it all in the refrigerator, so they’d be set by the time Mama went to work. I rode my bike home.

The next weekend, Donna said that Mama had had a fight with Bob, and we weren’t allowed to go there anymore.

Next Up: (Well, maybe). Scalise’s Deli Cleans a Deer.

Submission by a guest writer, Kat. She can be reached on Twitter @Kat_in_Arizona

Thank you once again, Kat!

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