by Olivia Greyson, purveyor of all things cookie and pursuer of killers.
From THE COOKIE CUTTER SHOP MYSTERIES, by Virginia Lowell.
Visit Maddie and me in Cookies and Scream, our latest sleuthing adventure
It’s Christmas Eve, and once again I’m remembering my kind, wise, absent-minded father. Dad wasn’t crazy about the whole gift thing, probably because he always forgot to buy any. Mostly he was into the Holidays for the cookies… and, as always, the birds.
I’ve been accused of confusing cookie cutters with tiny metal people, complete with distinct personalities. I got that trait from my father. Despite his amazing knowledge of different bird species, he often talked about birds as if they were little feathered people with wings. Dad could imitate the various calls so well that birds would swoop down from the trees for a heart-to-heart with him. I remember how he tilted his head and listened intently.
One Christmas morning, when I was about seven, I awakened early. Normally, I would run to the living room to empty my stocking in two minutes flat. Instead, I peeked outside through my bedroom curtain. My bedroom faced the backyard. In the early dawn light, I saw my father tossing seeds by the handful. He was surrounded by birds of all sorts—big blue jays, robins, cardinals, finches, chickadees… even one tiny, bold tufted titmouse. To me, he looked like the Pied Piper of Chatterley Heights.
Then Dad bent down to place a small, cookie-sized object on the crusty grass. At that moment—and for years to come, no matter what anyone told me—I was convinced my father had made special cookies for the birds. In fact, as I later learned, he had made little patties of suet, peanut butter, even fruit to hold nuts and seeds.
When he’d distributed his bounty, Dad placed something on his flat palm and held it in the air. I held my breath, wondering if a fairy might land on his hand. What happened was almost as magical. A chickadee flew over and touched down on my father’s fingers. The little bird regarded dad’s face for a second before snatching the seed and flying off.
No matter what anyone says, I do know that cookie cutters, no matter how much I love them, aren’t actually human. Birds, of course, are different. They are living creatures. They are born, have families, and must try to survive in a dangerous world. I’ll never forget watching my father provide a lush holiday feast for those hungry birds on a cold Chatterley Heights morning.
Best present ever.
Do you have a special holiday memory, perhaps one that seemed almost magical at the time? Leave a comment by midnight EST tonight to enter the Seasons Readings Contest for a chance to win a copy of COOKIES AND SCREAM by Virginia Lowell. Don’t forget to leave your email address!
SUBMITTED BY VIRGINIA LOWELL
Virginia Lowell is the author of COOKIE DOUGH OR DIE, A COOKIE BEFORE DYING, WHEN THE COOKIE CRUMBLES, ONE DEAD COOKIE, and COOKIES AND SCREAM. Visit Virginia at www.virginialowell.com
Chickadee Photo: Roland Tanglao/Wikimedia Commons