Our lives are a multitude of stories. Some are sad tales, some are filled with stomach wrenching laughter, and some are family legends that grow more epic each time they’re told. Join me this week as we curl up in our favorite spot in our virtual living room. The tree casting a twinkling glow. Hot chocolate, eggnog, and cookies sit in our laps. Our friends & family sit with us as we laugh, rejoice, & begin to share our tales of Christmas.
I know it’s coming when I call home and I hear the clanging of pots and pans in the background.
“You guys baking?”
My mom goes silent for half a second and laughs. “Yes.”
My dad, most likely at the stove stirring chocolate sauce or cutting shapes out of cookie dough, calls out from behind her…
“We’ve been baking since yesterday morning.” It’s now my turn to laugh as I think about the piles of cookies on the kitchen table, the flour on every inch of countertop, and my brother stealing Hershey’s kisses out of the bowl.
This is all common place, and I can synchronize my calendar on the events. It’s Christmas, which only means one thing in the Jacobson household.
Cookie Run Season.
We’ve been doing this for as long as I can remember – maybe ten, fifteen years. [and that right there makes me feel really old.]
It started small: a few friends, family members, and our pastor. We usually left the house around 7:00pm and were home by 10:00. Over the years, it got more elaborate. Our list grew. Not only were we delivering to my parents’ friends, but my friends. And then when Blanche and Christina got old enough, we began delivering totheir friends. Which, normally? Wouldn’t be that bad – but there’s a secret about private schools most people don’t realize.
Your friends can live anywhere – not just your neighborhood….not even your district.
We had to push back times of departure because it was just taking too long. My dad, organizer that he is, would start working on google maps weeks ahead of time, charting the most gas-efficient and sanity keeping route.
Sometimes…we would be in the car long enough to drive to Oklahoma.
We eventually added in our own traditions within this night of cookies extravaganza. We’d make up games like “How many Christmas parties are we going to interrupt this year?” or “Who can give the best hint for dinner choices?” or my personal favorite, “How long will mama be talking to this person?”
There were years where stomach bugs hit the Jacobson clan, and so the cookie run was cut short.
There were years where the list was so long, dad cursed the idea the entire time only to celebrate our victorious delivery during dinner at the local Mexican joint.
There were years where, after two days of a diet of entire sugar, we all bit our lips to keep from throwing up on the winding roads of the hill country. [Russ likes to correct me here. He likes to describe it as not “winding” but speeding down roads at elevations not necessarily welcomed by even those with the strongest intestinal fortitude]
There were years where my sisters and I drove my brother and father crazy with our giggles. We couldn’t help it. Locked in a car, for hours on end with nothing but Christmas music to listen to…you’re gonna get a little silly. And many of our inside jokes originated in some way during these mini-roadtrips.
We aren’t the only people who have experienced the joy of cookie runs. Both men married into the family have experienced the trial by fire of Jacobson’s cookie run. [There’s been others who didn’t fair so well.] They’ve ridden the entire time, eyes wide and mouth ajar, only to look into our eyes afterwards with I’m sure a better understanding of our background. My friends in college heard about these nights all four years – and by the time I graduated – it had become a bit of a campus folktale. It’s the one thing that pops into my head when people ask me about holiday traditions – outside of grandma’s singing bird perched delicately in her Christmas tree.
As crazy as it sounds, and as much merriment and insanity and disorganization goes into one of these events with my family, it’s the one thing I miss the most.
I haven’t been able to be at the last few cookie runs. This year I’m missing it by a thread of previous engagements. I’ll be thinking of them, though. I’ll giggle at the texts my sisters and brother send me. I’ll remember serious discussions my father led while driving through the night roads. I’ll remember my mom’s look of absolute radiance with her entire family in the car – singing, laughing, talking…
And the entire time, I’ll be thinking of future traditions my own family will begin – the stories that will birth out of repetition and clockwork. The stories of home.
Elora is a story teller at heart and DNA. She is the wife of Russ. Her heart longs to see the end of the plight of the orphan and to bring freedom to the slave. You can check out her blog and follow her on Twitter.
On Friday, Dec. 24th, we will have a link up for all of us to share our Christmas stories, and I’ll have a giveaway.
Prudence is a 30-something writer who lives in Arizona with her husband Shawn and their chihuahuas Lengua and Zeus. She writes her life, her experiences and her crawl back to hope. Eventually, she hopes to visit India – a place that’s captured her heart without ever stepping foot on the soil.