In my previous post, I mentioned a memory tied to the candy cane cookies my sisters and I made with our mom every Christmas. It was life-scarring…nearly as much as the book my siblings and I had to read during a unit study on explorers. “Buried in Ice” was the name of this instant classic that, to this day, will still set the five oldest of us off on a horror-filled comment session on Facebook. (Crazy homeschoolers…I tell you.) The pictures were nightmare-inducing and the book smelled like what I’ve always imagined frozen explorers would smell like. Obviously, it affected us deeply. None of us decided to become arctic explorers when we grew up.
Back to the cookies. One year, my mom set the oven on fire. Keep in mind that this was after a good four hours of rolling cookie dough ropes, twisting and shaping. The potential loss of these treasures alone would have been enough to set off any frazzled pastry chef. Had she just shut the oven door, the fire would have gone out pretty dang quickly and the cookies most likely would have survived. For future disasters, please note that fires don’t go out when you stand there and shriek at them.
However, being the responsible seven-year-old Junior Firefighter (hey, I had the sticker badge to prove it!) I was, I had it all under control. I herded my younger sister and brother out to our designated fire meeting spot as soon as the smoke alarm went off. Yay, me!! Right? Ehhh…not so much. Since homeschooling wasn’t as mainstream back in the Eighties as it is, say, today, I got in trouble for being outside the house during school hours. Mixed messages…I tell you. I learned that day that, apparently, fire safety is paramount unless the fire happens during school hours. (I’m kidding…now. I admit I was a wee bit confused after this episode. I was also seven and a bit of a literalist at that point in my life. Like Amelia Bedelia.)
Now as an adult myself, I can sympathize a little more with my mom. The cookies that she spent hours on were completely destroyed because she emptied the entire fire extinguisher into the oven. Dreadful. On top of that, her little kids thought the house was burning down, which put the whole family in jeopardy of drama involving social workers. (I’m telling you…the Eighties were really different.) My dad came home to mass chaos, weeping and gnashing of teeth that day.
Those burnt cookies still smelled better than that dang book.