My friend and fellow blogger Bliss recently wrote about baking cookies for Christmas. For some reason or other this triggered a memory of my mother and one of her cookie baking experiences. My mother was always a positive thinking, forward looking, happy-go-lucky person with a perpetual twinkle in her eye and she was fond of playing practical jokes every now and then. One time my father was explaining to us how they used to play practical jokes in the military and about how one of the most popular jokes was "short sheeting" each others beds. To "short sheet" a bed you tuck the top sheet under the mattress at the top of the bed and then double it over so that when a person tries to get into bed their feet are stopped halfway down the bed by the fold in the doubled over sheet. Yes, you guessed it. When my father tried to get into bed that night he found that it was short sheeted. Poor Dad, he was often the target of Ma's jokes and of course all of us kids thought it was hysterical. One time Ma put some over ripe fruit on the back porch and then waited until it had fruit flies. She then captured the fruit flies in a little net and put the fruit flies in my Dad's lunch box just as she was closing the lid. At lunch time Dad would open the lunch box and fruit flies would fly out and the other workers began to joke about it. Finally after three or four days of this my Dad brought up the subject at the supper table and all of us kids burst out laughing because we were all in on it. He knew right then that he had been the victim of another of Ma's tricks. Fortunately our Dad was a good natured sort who was fond of pulling his own pranks once in awhile.
One day my sister Suzy decided she would try playing a trick on our mother. She noticed that she had the same style of handwriting that Ma did and with a little practice she was able to duplicate Ma's handwriting. Ma loved to cook and bake and she had a file box full of recipes that she had collected over the years. Suzy decided to make up some recipes and sneak them into the recipe box to see Ma's reaction. The problem is that the plan backfired. One of the fake recipes was an imaginary recipe for "Mexican Orange Cookies". My sister tried to make it as realistic as possible by copying parts of other cookie recipes but she also threw in some odd ingredients. Our mother was always trying to make something new and different so one day she stumbled upon this recipe and tried to make it. She was just taking the cookies out of the oven as we came home from school and I tried one of them. It was terrible. Seeing the face that I had made Ma tried one herself and became very quiet and obviously very frustrated that the cookies had turned out so bad. My sister Suzy seeing how sad the ruined cookies made our mother started to cry from remorse and the story came out. She confessed to the Mexican Orange Cookies and to several other fake recipes. Our mother quickly forgave Suzy for telling the truth but I was not so ready to forgive her. After all, I had been cheated out of a nice batch of cookies. Just for the sake of curiosity I typed in "Mexican Orange Cookies" on Google and found out that there are oodles of recipes for cookies under this name. Too bad Suzy didn't get it right. I'll bet that Ma's cookies would have been the best!
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