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Sunday, December 17

A Christmas Tradition

Around five years ago, I started what is becoming a bit of a Christmas tradition around the Red State Blues household. I found myself wandering aimlessly around a department store looking for a little something for this friend or that friend, and I was disgusted at the notion of ending up with some little geegaw or other (probably made in China) that I wasn't sure the friend would like or want or need. What could I do, I thought, to bring a little of the personal, to give my friends something that could come only from me?

Growing up, I was never much of a baker. (Not much of a cook of any kind, really.) I never spent time with my mother in the kitchen learning how to make that fabulous pie crust, though Red State's momma made one mean apple pie. But over the last five years, I have developed a love for baking, especially cookies. My kids' friends actually call me periodically to see whether I have any freshly made cookies; if the answer is yes, I can expect a visit from them that day, with or without my kids in tow. When the cookies would go in my kids school lunch, I'd have to send extras for their friends.

So, cookies for friends and their families around Christmastime seemed a natural fit. Every year the Washington Post runs a cookie edition in the Food Section during the weeks before Christmas, so I would pick five or six recipes (as well as three or four others that have become old stand-bys), spend a weekend in my kitchen baking up batch after batch of all kinds of cookies, fill up little baskets for each of my friends, and deliver them. When I did it the first time, the feedback from my friends was encouraging, so I kept it up. This is my baking weekend this year. I spent yesterday up to my elbows in flour and baker's chocolate and lemon zest, and will do so again today.

On Friday I sent an email to my friend S. to make sure she would be home to receive her cookie delivery tonight. The email I got back said the following:

"I will be home and this may be good timing. My Mom and I are going to try to arrange a few bakers to help us bake for the injured at Walter Reed. Mom and Dad were out there last week visiting a family friend who unfortunately died but while there Mom said it was just heartbreaking to see the injured soldiers. She is checking with Walter Reed to see what if any rules they have for this and she and Dad will do the delivering. I'll let you know what they find out and maybe you will have a couple of cookies that will freeze for a few days? It really breaks your heart to see the suffering caused by that idiot in the White House."

It will, of course, be a real privilege for me to participate.

We have talked a lot here at BlondeSense about how poorly the returning veterans are treated by this (mal)administration. How "out of sight, out of mind" the true sufferings of the injured and maimed soldiers are. How John and Jane Q. Public show their "support" for the soldiers by slapping yellow Made in China ribbons on their cars. I personally don't know anyone serving in Iraq, but I appreciate the opportunity to show, in my very small way, that I feel so badly that these young men and women were served so very poorly by their political masters. And maybe the joy I feel in sending off a few meager batches of cookies is only a sauve for my conscience, but it's what I, as a single person, can do. (I never wanted this stupid war anyway.) I just hope they make someone smile.

Is there something you can do, too? Is there someway you can reach out? Send a Christmas card? Send some candy, or cookies, or flowers? Please think about it.

By the way, the Chocolate and Vanilla Sandwich cookies from this year's edition are delicious. Now, back to the kitchen.

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