Oh, the sweet taste of success coupled with the bitter sting of winter’s breath.
“Do you think I enjoy selling these cookies in frigid weather?” I asked Miss M as she leaned on the column, a look of agony on her face. “I would love to quit and we can, right now!” I said in my best, don’t mess with me kid voice.
Girl Scout cookie booths with a ‘tween are torturous enough without the added bonus of freezing weather. And even though I’d insisted she dress for a very “cold” booth, there was much whining, angst and frustration. At least I was nice and brought her heavy coat. But it wasn’t enough and she was freezing underneath her leggings, jeans, Uggs and three hoods. The world was ending.
Just as I finished my pep-talk tirade, a man came up behind us and handed me two peppermints. “Calm, down, Mamma, you look like you could use sweetening up,” he said with a smile and then, “I’ll catch you on the way out.” Wow, he looks and sounds familiar, I thought, and why do I think I’ve gotten peppermints from him before? He was back in a flash and giving Miss M a lesson on merchandising. “Hold the boxes up by your face when you talk to customers,” he was saying.
We’d parked in front of his church to sell on campus one day and he was one of our only sales. Small world and we got the evangelist. He bought cookies, chatted, and told me dirty jokes about selling GS cookies and red stiletto heels. Oh my.
Finally, our friends arrived to share the second shift. Thank goodness, because ‘tweens function best with a partner, if not a pack. They blinged their booth, I got them Starbucks, the atmosphere became a little more merry, for about five minutes. And then the whining was in stereo.
Once when they spotted my fellow mother ensconced in her coat they spent another five minutes laughing uncontrollably.
And that’s how it went, one minute laughing, one minute crying. Will this night ever end? we wondered.
As we were hearing “how much longer” for the thousandth time, I glanced at my phone and noticed that a friend had sent me a smiley and then another and another and another… Miss M saw me grinning and said, “What are you looking at?” “Well, someone just sent me sixteen giant smileys.” “Let me see,” she said, grabbing the phone and running over to her partner, giggling. They fell apart once again. Who knew that sixteen giant nerdy smileys and one giant rockstar smiley could be so entertaining, but it kept the girls in stitches long enough to finish the booth. “Um, thank whichever child for the smileys,” I messaged, figuring he had not sent them. But he shot back, “Damn, that was supposed to be an article about flute playing containing the word badass!” “Hahahahaha! Well, you’ve now helped us all make it through this freezing booth, we’re laughing at you, thanks!”
Shew, it ended. The girls tore the display down faster than I’ve ever seen and had it all neatly packed in the car in no time. We even skipped counting the money and just went our separate ways.
And that night will live in infamy as the evening they almost froze and suffered frostbite for the love of cookies. Well, that is until next year when the story log will be renewed with yet another insufferable booth experience.