When Cheese Grits signed off last week, Mrs. Claus had a dilemma: how to bake chocolate octagon cookies for Santa to deliver to our daughter on Christmas. Mrs. Claus does not own an octagon-shaped cookie cutter, and the thought of making a parchment paper template and using it as a pattern against which the cookies could be cut sounded like a lot of work to her. Our daughter’s cookies weren’t the only cookies that needed to be baked between now and Christmas, after all.
Santa’s elves are up to the tips of their pointed ears in toys to make, paint, test and package for Santa’s big day, which is coming up fast, and they don’t have time to design and make an octagon cookie cutter.
But fortunately Mrs. Claus has powerful connections. One of the most powerful is her best friend from college, a librarian, who, when she read of Mrs. Claus’ dilemma, did what any decent librarian would do: a Google search for octagon cookie cutters. In no time she had sent off an e-mail to Mrs. Claus with the web address of a vendor who made octagon cookie cutters and suggestions for several more places to look as well.
That e-mail got Mrs. Claus thinking about libraries and librarians. When she was in elementary school, Mrs. Claus worked as a library assistant. The library had a filing cabinet that was loaded with all sorts of NASA micrographs of stars, planets and galaxies, and Mrs. Claus used to let her imagination explore the heavens as she sorted and filed them. She used to send letters to NASA asking them to send even more of the pictures and posters, which meant the library had more than it could store, so she got to take some of the overflow home with her. She’s always been fascinated by traveling and the cosmos, the stars and the northern lights; that’s probably what attracted her to Mr. Claus now that she thinks about it, an interest in flying through the universe, dancing with the northern lights, developed early on in a library.
In college and graduate school Mrs. Claus used to wander the old dusty stacks or explore the special collections in the university libraries, always amazed at the treasures she would discover at her finger tips. Entire new worlds opening up, all of them for free.
And through the years, some of her best friends have turned out to be librarians. Librarians are great people to know. They have at their disposal the single most important kind of knowledge to have: the knowledge of how to find out. Most librarians love to solve problems and answer questions—the more unusual the question, the better.
Perhaps Santa should start leaving library cards in the stockings of budding young readers. It would be a Christmas gift that could last a lifetime. Weekly weekend visits to the library to check out story books, help with homework assignments later on, help researching colleges or careers even later—a place to go and a person to go to when you need to know something. What better Christmas gift?
Yes, Mrs. Claus has a truly wonderful and knowledgeable connection in her college buddy turned librarian.
But, Mrs. Claus, it turns out, has an even more powerful connection: Grandpa. Grandpa, as it would happen, owns and operates one of the elite North Pole satellite workshops, and a stainless steel octagon cookie cutter (that won’t rust in the dishwasher) is already in the mail to Mrs. Claus.
While she waits for it to arrive, Mrs. Claus is off to the library (where else?) to find a good chocolate cut-out cookie recipe, and she’s going to see if she can talk that dear hassled husband of hers into doing some quality control taste testing on some chocolate octagon cookies before Christmas.
© 2009 Michele Arduengo. All rights reserved.