Andrea's column: TemptationWith a pantry full of Girl Scout cookies, it is hard to keep my mind on the present. Instead, I am taken back in time to the years I led a Brownie troop in New Jersey.
By: Andrea Langworthy, Rosemount Town Pages
With a pantry full of Girl Scout cookies, it is hard to keep my mind on the present. Instead, I am taken back in time to the years I led a Brownie troop in New Jersey.
It hadn’t been my intention to guide a group of scouts when we moved to the state. My daughter had been in first grade, after all, a year too young for the brown dress and beanie. But I joined the PTA and the president asked for my help. The leader had resigned, moved, or had a nervous breakdown, I’m not sure which, and no one had stepped forward to take her place.
When I saw the list of prospective scouts, I did a double-take. There were twice as many as I had expected.
I spent three days calling mothers asking if they would be able to help. With such a large group, I explained, I would need a co-leader. One after another, they turned me down. Finally, one mom said she would love to help but had little kids at home and couldn’t afford to have a sitter come every week.
In desperation, I said, “We will just have to take the babysitter’s money out of the dues then, because I can’t do this by myself and you’re the last name on this long list.”
In those days, each girl went door-to-door in her neighborhood to get cookie orders and then turned them in to the leaders who waited for the cookies to be delivered. No one’s parents took orders from their co-workers which now seems to me to be the safest way for young children to move the merchandise.
The Do-si-dos, Tag-a-longs, Thin Mints and Samoas in my kitchen closet were purchased from the daughters of two of my husband’s co-workers. One, whose wife must be the troop’s cookie mom, said there are 1,100 boxes of the sweet treats in his basement. I remember those days.
When I was in that position, I stored the cookies in the glassed-in porch off the living room. When they were delivered, the driver gave me an envelope with order sheets, envelopes for money and a sign for the front window that said something like “Girl Scout Cookie Depot” or “Girl Scout Cookie Mom.” My father had a fit when he heard about it. Cookies were a lot less then so people didn’t write a check but instead, paid in dollar bills.
“Anyone driving by knows you’ve got cash in there and you’re going to get robbed,” Dad bellowed. I ripped up the sign and threw it in the wastebasket. In an effort to thwart the would-be burglars, whenever my husband and I went to the grocery store, we grabbed a wad of singles, wrote out a check for the amount and dropped it in the money envelope.
No one ever broke in. Dad should have warned me about thieving parents instead. One little girl turned in her order and when the cookies arrived, I brought her share to her house. The plan was for her to make her deliveries, collect the money and get it back to me at the next meeting. When she didn’t show up, I spoke with her mother who assured me the cash would be in my hands the following week. By then, though, the family had moved. They left no forwarding address and left me holding the bag.
My hubby would love to be holding the bag. Every night after dinner, he goes into the pantry to put away the place mats and comes out with a wistful look on his face.
“Why don’t we open one of the boxes of Girl Scout cookies?” he asks. Night after night, I remind him they are for our grandchildren. Repeat we decided not to get any for ourselves. That we don’t need all the sugar. Night after night, he gives me that hang-dog look that says he wouldn’t mind stealing a few boxes for himself.