Cookies in the Freezer

I was always a little confused by what exactly a Girl Scout was. As a youngster, I remember seeing the cluster of girls in their green and brown uniforms with their various ranks displayed as quarter sized badges sewn onto a sash that was worn like an earthy version of those seen at a beauty pageant. Rather than reading, “Miss Russet Potato”, or some other title, the little dots showed the trials and tribulations that the wearer had undertaken and mastered.

This was a foreign world to me. Not only did I have no sister to demystify the organization for me, but I was never part of the male version either. Boy Scouts, though they undoubtedly did neat stuff, had one major flaw as I saw it. They still had to follow directions given to them by adults. Though I was hardly what you would have called a rebellious child, I was happiest when doing what ever I wanted to do. I would put my head down and get through the things that were expected of me, but when it came to unstructured time which I had control of, there was just no way in hell that I was going to put it in the hands of more people who would be telling me what to do, where to do it and how it was to be done.

The funny thing is that I always had a mild fascination with the “Scouts”, be they the boy or girl variety. The friend who I have been closest with my whole life, The Doctor, eventually attained the rank of Eagle Scout and many, many weekends I was left on my own while he want off with his troop to camp in the woods, paint park benches or… do what ever else Boy Scouts do. I believe there was some sort of a “Jamboree” thrown in there somewhere. I have no idea what that was about.

As far as our friendship was concerned, he left the “Scouting” stuff at the door when he came over to play and we never really talked about it. The only time I actually saw him in his uniform was during his Eagle Scout indoctrination ceremony and I think it was odd for both of us. It was held in a church hall, long after he, himself had left organized faith far behind on his personal road. There were, naturally, big American flags hanging up, just at the time he was starting to seriously question what our country was doing in the world and it involved jumping over symbolic sticks… which both of us found mildly humorous. I still have no idea what the sticks were about.

Now, lest I offend, let me say that I do not in any way look down upon those who choose the Scouting life. In many ways I was jealous that it just didn’t seem to fit with me. I love camping. I like doing projects. I LOVE riflery, which you can, if I’m not mistaken, get a merit badge in. I would have lived at the rifle range. For some reason though, I instantly chafed at the idea.

I think it was the neckerchiefs.

cub-scout-fred

If the Boy Scouts confused me, the Girl Scouts baffled me. I had a lot of friends in the neighborhood and we all lived on the edge of some serious forestland. We all lived in those woods and the girls whom I spent many a long day playing with were of the rough and tumble sort. Tom Boys, to be succinct. They were right there with us, scraping their arms on branches, skinning their knees and peeing in the bushes. These girls were FUN! When I looked at the groups of Girl Scouts patiently waiting for their den mothers to direct them to what ever fun that awaited them, I couldn’t help raising an eyebrow at their neatly pressed blouses, perfect and jaunty barrettes and those brown knee skirts.

SKIRTS?

To my mind, skirts were reserved for things like school and church. The girls I knew never opted for skirts and why would they? They offer poor protection form thorns and rocks and then there’s the whole tree climbing issue. The Girl Scouts uniforms were all done in dark green and tan, giving the illusion that they could step into the jungle and take on the Vietcong, but really… it was like having an camouflage bathing suit. What’s the point? Then there were the merit badges.

I knew that the girls didn’t get to do the same stuff that the boys did. A topic that is still to this day, a point of some grievance by Action Girl. She was cast out of her brother’s Cub Scout den when she started to have too much fun doing all the projects that the boys were doing. When offered the trade to Brownies (the Girl Scout starter rank) she balked. Sewing and singing just didn’t stack up well against setting things on fire and using hatchets. She will forever be a disgruntled Boy Scout wannabe.

The Girl Scouts do, naturally, have on major feather in their barrettes, however.

The cookies!

For those who live beyond the borders of the United State, I hope, with heart felt sincerity, that whatever country you live in has an equivalent to a Girl Scout Thin Mint.

thin-mints

Every year, Girl Scouts in the thousands pour out of meeting lodges and church basements and hit the pavement, going door to door in their neighborhoods with long sign up sheets and catalogs showcasing various cookies that can be ordered from Girl Scouts of America. It’s a fundraiser for the organization and one that I believe, will never leave the G.S. of A. short of funds. The cookies offered are not available in stores anywhere to my knowledge and even if there were an equivalent, it just wouldn’t be the same. The beauty of Girl Scout cookies is that the ordering happens months before the cookies actually arrive. Just long enough for you to have totally forgotten that you put your name down for an obscene quantity of sugar and chocolate covered snacks. They are divine. They are to be savored. They have just arrived!

A hand made sign on a lamp post down by the store gave notice that the cookies were on their way and would be arriving on Saturday and I mad darn sure that I would be around. As I say, there are many different cookies that the Girl Scouts sell and many of them are very, very tasty. It doesn’t matter though. I just want the Thin Mints.

A mint flavored chocolate wafer covered in more chocolate and bundled in a sleeve and two sleeves to a box, I wait for them with anticipation every year. I thought that they were perfection in a cookie until my Wife showed me the error of my ways. There was, in fact, a way to make them even better. They need to be kept in the freezer. Oh, ho ho ho. I’m in heaven. As I write, there are two boxes in the freezer, one having been mildly pillaged and two more in the deep freeze in the basement. I’m hoping that I’ll manage to forget all about them until mid summer, but that’s a long shot. I can hear them calling to me just now.

So, I still don’t understand the draw of the Scouting life and though I know that the Girl Scouts have beefed up the types of merit badges they offer to include more outdoorsy kind of activities in the hopes of appearing less… 1950’s, I’m still clueless as to what their goals really are, but that’s ok. They just need to keep me in Thin Mints and I’ll keep handing over the contents of my wallet to the nice young girls on the front step in the brown and green uniforms. At least I think they were Girl Scouts.

If Lulu Belle ever decides to join their ranks, I am truly doomed. Doomed and in a sugar coma… So I guess I won’t know about it, at any rate. And now… If you’ll excuse me, I feel a freezer raid coming on.

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6 Responses

  1. Mmmm Girl Scout Cookies.
    I think when I was a kid there were vanilla and chocolate filled ones.
    I see they have changed with the times!

    I know the Thin Mint has changed over time. I remember them looking a little different from days gone by. Still, I can’t make it through the year with out my fix!
    -TP

  2. I grew up in a Scouting family. Myself, my brother and our sister were all extremely active in Scouting and while I’m not sure how my sister feels, my brother and I both credit Scouting as one of the defining experiences of our lives. We were lucky enough to be involved with a very active troop that religiously went camping 11 weekends per year and attended 1 week of summercamp as a troop on the 12th month. I learned so many skills in Scouting that I still use today. I’m pretty good with an ax, I can start a fire with two matches (most of the time), I can whittle, I can tie all sorts of knots, etc. But alas, I spent all of my time wanting to be in the woods or at least outdoors. Instead of doing my Citizenship in the Community merit badge, I took rifle shooting, skiiing and snorkling at camp. During the colder months I would just ignore badges completely. That is why I was only Star rank when I left Scouts at age 18. My brother made it to Eagle, being the more studious of the two of us….and I have always been jealous.

    My youngest daughter is now a Girl Scout. They have improved since my sister was in there, but I still think they over-emphasize girliness. She actually got one badge because her whole troop had a ‘spa day’ where they got facials, manicures, etc. Sheesh! The good news is that we had cases and cases of cookies in our house for a couple of weeks awaiting distribution. There are always a few extra boxes which I dutifully took care of. My favorites are Tagalongs, but we also have two boxes of Thin Mints in the freezer.

    Yah, the spa thing just would not work for Action Girl. I married a girl like the ones I played with in my youth and the idea of getting points for a pedicure would not impress her at all. She was really ticked off when they told her she had to stop coming to meetings and I have to say, I can’t blame her. It sounds like it was a lot of fun. Scouting just never clicked with me as a kid, but oddly enough, I would be happy as a clam to see Short Stack and Lulu Belle get into it. I’d want to go camping too!
    -TP

  3. You are supposed to EAT the cookies, not freeze them.

    I like to numb them so they don’t feel the pain when I chomp them up! đŸ˜‰
    -TP

  4. My cookies are on order. I’ll order from any girl that asks me directly. I am happy to give a girl a ‘yes’. I thank them for asking and tell them I’d love to order cookies from them. It’s when the order forms show up at work, taped by a parent, to the cabinets in the pantry that I’ll turn ’em down. I object to the pittance that actually goes to the girls themselves. At least with cub scout popcorn the pack gets 40%, the girl scouts get much less for their efforts.

    I tried to stick to the same ideals. The passed around sign up sheet is cheating as far as I’m concerned. And if they were selling something other than cookies, I might be able to resist, but…. YUM!
    -TP

  5. Oh, and Thin Mints chopped up as a topping/mix-in with ice cream? OH MY MINTY CHOCOLATEY GOODNESS! (I like vanilla, but I get the impression you’re not a plain vanilla type of guy.)

    Actually, vanilla was my favorite for many, many years. Now I’m a chocolate guy. The only time I’ll regress to vanilla is when it’s time to make a rootbeer float! Moxie floats require coffee ice cream….

    Ok. Now I want to have a float.

    -TP

  6. I was in the Scouts and I loved it. We were taught outdoor skills and went camping quite often. I also enjoyed meeting new people, besides the what was available at school.

    My wife was also heavily involved with the Girl Guides (that’s what you guys call Girl Scouts) as a leader and as a Board member.

    The scouting movement basically started off as a para-military, neo-colonial organization to prepare young English boys to help control an empire.

    These days (here in Australia at least) the scouting and guiding movement is all about preparing youngsters for leadership by teaching them the skills of working in teams and co-operation. As most kids go through the system they eventually end up in charge (or second in charge) of a patrol through a democractic process. There’s nothing like giving kids control over others to help them empathize with other people in authority, such as their parents.

    On the whole I think that both organizations help prepare children to become better citizens.

    But… the important question… Do the Girl Guides have COOKIES!?!?

    On the whole, the Aussie and Ami versions sound roughly equivalent. I just never seemed to be able to visualize my self in the uniform. Don’t know why. It just wasn’t me. I’ll be interested to see if Short Stack or Lulu Belle have any interest though.
    -TP

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