It was my father’s sure-fire solution to the whole sneak-the-cookies situation. My older brother Aaron was a master at sneaking cookies and leaving the empty cookie container. One day my father had just had it.
“I bet if you were allowed to eat as many cookies as you could want, you wouldn’t be able to eat as many as you do now.”
My brother disagreed.
Several days later my father announced the Cotton Cookie Campout.
My brothers and sisters and I picked out packages of store-bought cookies (a real treat since we only had homemade ones growing up) and packed them and gallons of milk for the night of the Cotton Cookie Campout. We piled into my father’s truck … yes all 10 of us … and drove to some remote “perfect location.” My brothers and father pitched the tents and built the fire and my sisters and I organized the other stuff. Then … we gorged.
Pecan Sandies, Oreos, Danish Wedding Cookies, Magic Middles (remember those?), Chips Ahoy, Ginger Snaps … the collection was amazing to my 10-year-old eyes.
“Aaahhhhh no. There are still some cookies left!” My Dad would say when one of us mentioned our bellies feeling full. He was determined to be right.
And he was. The thrill of “illegal” cookies stoked the hunger for the sugar. Once it was allowed, the consumption was just a little less sweet. My father made his point and a tradition was born.
Last night we had out 28th Annual Cotton Cookie Campout. Well … it has evolved into Cotton Cookie Campfire since no one really camps out out any more except for the occasional tent in Grandma’s living room. And the homemade cookies outnumber the store-bought varieties since we now far prefer our personal baked creations.
One thing remains the same: the night and the memories could be no sweeter.