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Sarah Lysne: The comfort and joy of cookies

A few days before Valentine’s Day, my husband and I were at Mayo Clinic visiting with one of my doctors. It seems that a few bad falls had prompted my doctor to schedule this appointment to address my safety. Even though my legs are strong, my balance was getting worse. We talked about walkers, splints for my legs, and through tears, a wheelchair. I wasn’t ready for the wheelchair. I decided I would try the walker and in the splits first.

I was feeling pretty down about these new changes caused by ALS, but once again, my family came to the rescue. One relative made sure that I had a walker on every floor of my house. Another relative helped me learn a balance exercise. On Valentine’s Day, my mother- in- law and my sister gave me homemade Valentine cookies. The cookies were comforting and delicious.

This isn’t the first time that cookies have brought me comfort. When my father- in- law passed away, one of our family friends brought chocolate chip cookies. I can’t even tell you how many of those I ate. On the days after his passing, somehow I couldn’t find the strength to eat much of anything but the cookies.

Cookies have also brought me joy. If it wasn’t for cookies, I probably wouldn’t have had my first job at the former Austin Bakery. When I was a little girl, my parents would go to the bakery and get bread almost every week. The owner, Mrs. Waldee always gave my brother and sister and I a cookie. My favorite was the cherry chip. Over the years, Mrs Waldee got to know our family,

and when I turned 15, she offered me a job at the bakery. I worked there all through high school, and the Waldee family and I became lifelong friends.

Cookies have also been a wonderful way for people to gather and enjoy each other’s company. I remember when I was growing up, my mom would make a big batch of chocolate chip cookies, and my aunts and my cousins would come over. There was always laughter, plenty of coffee and cookies and about 10 kids running around the house.

I have a Christmas memory about a very special cookie. I was at my aunt and uncle’s house for a Christmas party. One of the little cousins came up and asked me if I would bring the Christmas plate of cookies down to her level. I did, and she spent much time looking at all the cookies very carefully. At last she chose the most beautiful cookie. I told her to enjoy it, and she said, “Oh no, I wondered if you could put it in a napkin so I can take it home. I want to give this cookie to Santa Claus.” At that moment I felt hope. This child was a very generous soul. She spent time picking out just the right gift for Santa.

I hope that cookies have brought you comfort and joy over the years, because sometimes the simple things in life are the best.