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Day 8 of Lent
I was chatting with my dearest friend earlier about my Lenten blogging discipline and how this was the first day where writing was truly difficult. I am exhausted, and I have little coherent to say. I am out of fancy ideas and well-turned phrases.
“Could you tell me what to write?” I asked.
Without missing a beat, my friend asked, “What is your favorite Girl Scout cookie?”
“Whatever Samoas are called now. Caramel Delites, I think.”
“Then write about those.”
So I am writing about Caramel Delites.
I would feel more inspired if I actually had some right now– alas, I don’t– but I can also work from memory. I have eaten a lot of Caramel Delites. A lot of them. Generally I buy between three and five boxes every year. I then proceed to consume them at the rate of one box per day until they are gone. Usually I eat all but one or two of the cookies in the box in one sitting. I refrain from finishing the entire box, not because I am sated, but because I cannot quite admit to myself that I am capable of eating an entire box of Caramel Delites in one sitting.
I then return an hour or two later and finish off the one or two remaining cookies in the box, patting myself on the back for eating such a small, sensible snack. Perhaps the secret ingredient is self-deception.
Girl Scout cookies have been with me for about as long as I can remember. When I was a very young child, both of my older sisters were Girl Scouts, and my mother was a troop leader (I think that this was what it was called). My house was also the place where the delivery truck dropped the entire troop’s cookies. Once a year, our sitting room would fill with case upon case of cookies. My sisters and I would constantly rearrange them and build forts and bridges out of them. I have fond memories of those cookies.
So much has changed about my life since then. My family moved out of the house with the cookie-filled sitting room almost thirty years ago. I have grown up to live in a world I would barely have recognized. I was a finicky eater as a child; now I am a vegetarian and eat things on a regular basis that my childhood self would have deemed a cruel punishment. But the cookies: the cookies have always been there. And the Caramel Delites– the Samoas of my childhood– are still my favorite.
It comforts me to know that Girl Scout cookies, and the Girl Scouts, still exist. Their message of empowering girls, embracing their individuality and diversity, and encouraging independence, leadership, and self-esteem is as necessary now as it ever has been. The world still lines up to tell girls that they should feel uncomfortable inside their own bodies, that they aren’t capable of managing their own lives without the help of men. The Girl Scouts say otherwise.
It is this very witness to the inherent worth and gifts of girls that has recently garnered them vitriolic criticism from conservative politicians and flacks. I think about these criticisms, and then I think about the Girl Scouts I know. My dear friend who suggested that I write this post is a Girl Scout. My sisters–both of them capable, strong, dedicated women–are Girl Scouts. These folks seem to want a country in which women like my sisters and my friend don’t exist. I don’t take such a suggestion well. At all.
If Girl Scout cookies can help girls develop into women like my friend and my sisters, despite the forces that would hold them back, I will raise a cookie–or an entire box, or ten– to that.
UPDATE 1: Friday, February 22 was World Thinking Day, an annual event when Girl Scouts and Girl Guides worldwide. This year’s theme is the reduction of child mortality rates worldwide. You can find more information at the link.
UPDATE 2: Friends and family have pointed out that the caramel, coconut and chocolate cookies I so adore are still called Samoas in some regions of the country. The cookie names vary in some regions depending on the regional bakery that makes them.